Girls' Swimming Athlete of the Year: Mikayla Rogers
Mikayla Rogers has been a key part of the Toll Gate swim team for four years and she was around the Titans well before that, when her older sister Becky swam. She thought of all those years frequently this past season.
“I was excited about my senior year but I was really emotional,” Rogers said. “Every meet, I was like, ‘This is one of the last times.’”
With that perspective taking hold, Rogers made her final year count. After hitting the wall as she tried to drop her times in the regular season, she surged at the state championship meet, grabbing two top-10 finishes for the second year in a row.
“She was determined to get back to where she was and do even better,” said Toll Gate coach Mike Seidenberg.
Rogers finished fourth in the 500 freestyle at states, nearly matching a personal-best time from last year’s state meet. In the 100 butterfly, she finished seventh, shaving five seconds off her seeding time.
“That was the best I could have asked for,” she said. “All season, I wasn’t pulling the numbers I wanted. Going to states, I just said, ‘This is the last time I’m swimming at states. I just wanted to have fun.’”
Her performance at states capped a strong high-school career for Rogers, who was Toll Gate’s best for several years and a regular on the state meet scene.
This season, she was also tasked with being a leader for a young squad, a job she handled well.
“She was always enthusiastic, always bringing kids into the fold,” Seidenberg said.
The Titans will miss her next year, but Rogers won’t have to miss swimming. She’ll swim at Springfield College.
“People would ask me if I was swimming in college and my immediate answer was always no,” she said. “At the beginning of this year, I realized I couldn’t imagine my life without swimming.”