Father-daughter bond runs deep
     2016-01-15      By Allie Mekolon    editor@geringcitizen.com
Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen Megan Hayhurst takes a breather after a few practice laps at the Splash Arena in Scottsbluff on Tuesday. Inset: Megan and Mike Hayhurst, Seacats coach. 
Scottsbluff senior Megan Hayhurst is no stranger to the water. A former member of the area’s club swim team, the Torpedoes, and current member of the high school swim team, the Seacats, Megan said she’s been swimming since she was born, but she has yet to take on the task of being on her own.

Megan’s father, Mike Hayhurst, who is also her swim coach, has played an important role in Megan’s life, especially when it comes to being in the water. However, this lap of the race is coming to an end as Megan’s senior year approaches graduation day.

Megan joined the Torpedoes in grade school under her father’s tutelage. She was coached by Judy John until her middle school years, taking a break from the sixth grade to the eighth before joining the Seacats her freshman year.

Mike has coached the Seacats for the past 15 years, but placed Megan in the assistant coach’s group when she joined the team, to make the transition easier. Mike now coaches Megan directly, as she trains for the 200 and 500 free-style races.

“The team members are very accepting of it. I taught Megan in her eighth-grade social studies class, so we already had established that teacher-student relationship. She’s a very easy kid to work with. We haven’t had any problems,” Mike said, referring to working with Megan on a daily basis.

Both claim this opportunity has strengthened their father-daughter relationship. Megan says being on the team has given she and her father another thing in common, and Mike said it gives them more time together in a different atmosphere from home.

Megan said her dad’s coaching has enhanced her experience on the team because she understands him, and can easily communicate with him.

Last year, Mike coached Megan and the rest of the 400 free-style relay team to state. This year, Mike hopes to see Megan fulfill her goal of making the relay team again. He also hopes to see her improve her times, and make a secondary state time, which would allow her name to be displayed on the awards wall at the high school.

Megan has a chance of being named an Academic All-American swimmer. To receive this award, the athlete must have a cumulative GPA of 3.75 and have lettered in the sport. Megan exceeded the GPA requirement and lettered her sophomore and junior years. On top of these achievements, Megan was nominated by fellow teammates to be a team captain this year.

At the end of the season, all of the seniors will participate in the senior walks (a special ceremony for graduating seniors), under the direction of Mike, making this an extra special, and even more emotional event for both Megan and Mike.

“When Megan was little, I had the opportunity to stay home with her until she was about 3-years old. That built a relationship that I feel most dads don’t get to have. Senior walks will be really difficult,” Mike said.

Megan is approaching the end of her high school swimming career, but it is much more than that to her. “The hardest part of having my dad as my coach is that, at the end of this year, I’m not just moving on from swimming, I’m also going to leave my dad to go to college.”

Megan will attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a regent scholarship to study Theatre and English.

For the Seacats schedule, visit MaxPreps.com and click on Scottsbluff High School swimming.

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