Margo Geer, a graduate of Fairbanks High School, is pictured practicing at the Union County YMCA swimming pool. Geer will compete in the Pan Pacs Game in Tokyo early this month.
(Journal-Tribune file photo by Tim Miller)
The 2018 swimming season marked Margo Geer’s full return to competition after a lengthy lay-off.
Geer, who captured eight state championships in the 50 and 100 freestyles while competing for Fairbanks High School, earned third-place finishes during the recent U.S. Nationals at Irvine, California.
Her times of 24.79 in the 50 and 53.44 in the 100 qualified her to compete in the Pan Pacs Games that will begin in just a few days in Tokyo.
Geer, who swam on the collegiate level at the University of Arizona, has resumed her career after undergoing shoulder surgery and serving a stint as an assistant coach at The Ohio State University.
“I was basically off from Aug. of 2016 until April of 2017, “ said Geer, who competed sparingly last year.
Geer had a torn rotator cuff, which she said is a common injury for competitive swimmers, repaired.
“I started to feel some nagging pain after the 2015 Worlds competition,” said Geer. “The rotator cuff had just worn down after years of swimming.”
Geer underwent the surgery last November and prior to that, helped coach at OSU during the 2016-2017 season.
“I learned a lot as an assistant coach,” she said. “I also coached eight-year-olds at Scioto Country Club and enjoyed both experiences.”
Geer, 26, began competing at the U.S. Nationals while in her mid-teens.
“I learned a lot more about training for races, which gave me a lot of confidence,” she said. “I also began training at a very high level once I went to Arizona and got comfortable with it.”
Geer moved to Bloomington, Indiana nearly a year ago and trains with Hoosier sprint coach Coley Stickels.
“He’s also a former Arizona swimmer, so I knew him,” said Geer, who holds a degree in business management from AU.
The former Fairbanks swimmer doesn’t have much time to relax and enjoy what she accomplished during last week’s U.S. Nationals.
“We leave for the Pan Pacs on Saturday, so it’s a quick turnaround,” said Geer. “My shoulder is holding up well – knock on wood – and I’m ready to go.”
Geer will compete in both the 50 and 100 freestyles and also as a member of the United States women’s 4 x 100 free relay team.
She knows the competition in Tokyo will be very stiff.
“There will be 18 countries represented at Pan Pacs,” she said. “Australian, Japan and Canada are going to be the heavy hitters.”
Only two American women will qualify for the finals in both the 50 and 100 races.
Geer feels she can be one of those swimmers, but realizes she will need to shave some time off both sprints.
“I will probably have to swim a 24.5 in the 50 and a 53 one or two in the 100 to make the finals,” she said. “If I can do that, those times would be among the top 10 in the world.”
Geer will be working hard in the pool in preparation for the Pan Pacs, but there’s also another weapon in her arsenal.
“I’ll also be watching a lot of video to see what I can do to take time off my performances in both races,” she said.
As far as the 4 x 100 relay, Geer and her teammates will be up against a very strong Australian foursome.
“They hold the world record in the event,” she said.
There will be gold, silver and bronze medals awarded in the relay.
Geer said she hopes the American team can get to the medal stand after all is said and done.
The former Lady Panther competed in the United States Olympic Trials in 2008, 2012 and 2016. She finished seventh in the 50 freestyle in 2012 and missed out on the Olympic Games.
Will the three-time NCAA champion swimmer in both sprint events go for a fourth Trials competition in 2020?
“It’s possible, but nothing is set in stone,” said Geer. “I first want to see how the Pan Pacs go.”
If she doesn’t try for another Olympic berth, coaching could very well be in her future.
“I would definitely like to coach again,” said Geer. “At what level is to be determined.”
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