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After completing her Cardinals swimming career this fall, Greenwich High School rising senior Meghan Lynch will still be a Cardinal in the fall of 2021.

Lynch, who has excelled in the pool for Greenwich since she was freshman, will join the three-time defending NCAA champion Stamford Cardinal swim team in 2021.

She announced her verbal commitment to Stanford and received her official acceptance notice from the school this week.

“It feels really good, it’s nice to have that closure — knowing where I’m going to be going next year,” Lynch said. “I felt that Stanford was the best fit for me overall for academics and swimming.”

Coached by Greg Meehan, Stanford placed first in the team standings at the NCAA Championships from 2017 to 2019. Their bid for a fourth straight NCAA women’s title was cut short this past season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meehan, who is the U.S. Women’s Olympic swimming team’s head coach, guided the Cardinal to a dual meet record of 7-0 and to its fourth straight PAC 12 championship in their 2019-2020 campaign.

“I went on official visits to five schools,” Lynch said. “I can honestly say I loved every one of my visits. The coaches, campuses and swimmers were great on every visit and I could see myself at any of them, but Stanford stood out in so many ways.”

Having the opportunity to attend Stanford has been on Lynch’s mind for quite a while.

“I first visited Stanford while competing in a ‘Pro Swim Series’ meet in Santa Clara when I was 13,” she recalled. “I had heard all about the Stanford swim team, knew a little about the school, but had never actually been there. We didn’t have time until after finals on the last night of the meet. When we arrived at the pool, there was a man locking up the gate for the night. He let us in to take a quick look around at what was the most amazing pool complex I had ever seen — and I’ve been to a lot of pools. As we were leaving and he was locking up the big iron gate, he said to me, ‘study hard’. I always remembered that great advice he gave me that day.”

Following that advice, Lynch has also flourished in the classroom, as well as the pool at GHS — earning the grades to be accepted by Stanford. She mentioned math as being her favorite subject.

“I’m not completely positive about what I want to major in, but the Stanford majors Mathematical and Computational Science, and Bioengineering interest me,” said Lynch, who noted she made the decision to attend Stanford in December, then had to wait for the admissions process, which concluded this week.

Lynch’s swimming accomplishments and honors for both the Greenwich and YWCA Greenwich Dolphins squads are plentiful — too many to keep track of.

She won the 200-yard individual medley title for Greenwich at the State Open and Class LL championships as a freshman, sophomore and junior, breaking state, Class LL, FCIAC and GHS records in the process. Her efforts earned her National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association all-America honor in the 200 IM three consecutive seasons.

In the 200 IM during Greenwich’s 2019 season, Lynch placed first in the event at the Class LL meet in a state record time of 1:59.13. As a sophomore in 2018, Lynch made all-America in the 100-yard freestyle, breaking the Class LL and GHS records along the way.

Also in 2018, Lynch won the 100-yard breaststroke title at the Class LL finals (meet-record performance) and the State Open Championships. She also set the FCIAC record in the event and was named an NISCA all-America honoree. Lynch swam on the Cardinals’ 200-freestyle relay squad, which set an FCIAC record when she was a freshman and was part of the team’s 400-yard freestyle relay quartet that won the State Open the past three seasons (2017-2019), set a state record and earned NISCA all-America accolades.

“I have always loved the high school season, it’s my favorite time of year,” said Lynch who holds five Greenwich High girls swimming records. “It is great to be a part of such a fun team environment. The Open and Class LL meets are so loud and so much fun for everyone.”

A competitor for coach Nick Cavataro’s YWCA Dolphins program since she was 6 years old, Lynch currently holds an astounding 110 Dolphins swim records.

While competing for the Dolphins at the USA Swimming Winter Nationals in 2018, she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200-meter individual medley (2:17.03). The U.S. Olympic Trials, which were supposed to take place this month, will be held in 2021 in Omaha, Neb.

Lynch currently holds 68 Connecticut Swimming age-group records, while competing for the Dolphins. She broke the national age group record in the 10-and-under 100 breaststroke and 50 breaststroke — short course and long course.

At the Connecticut Swimming Senior Championships, Lynch was the High Point winner each year — from 2016 through 2020. She was also the High Point champion at the Connecticut Swimming Age Group Championships from 2013-2018.

“Nick Cavataro is a great coach, who has taught me to work hard and strive to be my best,” Lynch said. “I’ve had some memorable meets with the Dolphins. For me, swimming is a nice break during the day to take my mind off everything.”

Swimming is a family affair for the Lynchs. Meghan’s older brother Ryan swam at Greenwich, then at Tufts University and her parents were involved in the sport.

“My family is a big part of it all,” Lynch said. “My brother pushed me in the water when I was young and I remember chasing him into the water. We had fun racing each other. My parents have always been supportive, taking me to meets all over.”

During the coronavirus crisis, which has forced the cancellation of all sporting events, Lynch maintained her conditioning.

“During the pandemic I was very fortunate to be able to swim in a friend’s backyard pool and also to spend a couple weeks down in Georgia, where we swam in the ocean as well as a pool,” Lynch said. “I also did a lot of running, Peloton workouts and the YWCA Dolphins’ Zoom workouts were available almost every day.”

Pools in Connecticut recently opened as part of Phase 2 of the state’s re-opening plans.

“Now we are back in the pool at the YWCA and Bailiwick (Club) has opened up so I’ll be swimming there as well. I also plan to continue running, adding in some strength training and plenty of swimming this summer as I prepare for the fall high school season.”

Lynch is looking forward to another successful high school season for Greenwich, which is coached by Lorrie Hokayem and is excited about moving out west for college.

“I have some family near Stanford, and my mom lived out there for a couple years, so I’m looking forward to learning about the west coast, swimming in the Pacific Ocean and definitely enjoying the weather and all the outdoor pools,” she said. “At Stanford, everyone rides bikes everywhere so I’m looking forward to that, too.”

As for experiencing the PAC-12 rivalries, Lynch can’t wait.

“That is what gets you all riled up,” she said. “It definitely pushes you. It will be exciting to go to top level swim meets and see how the competition is at that level.”

dfierro@greenwichtime.com