Photo Courtesy: Tim Binning/TheSwimPictures.com
By Mike Watkins//Correspondent
Morgan Scroggy didn’t like living in Columbus, Ohio, at first – mostly because of the weather.
It was quite different from the two other places where she’s lived – Oregon and Georgia – and it took her quite some time to acclimate.
“It’s so much colder and snowier than anywhere else I’ve lived,” she said. “It’s also taken me longer to meet people than I’m used to, although now I’ve made a couple of really good friends.
“I have grown to really like it now. It’s a great city, and because Ohio State is here, there is a good younger crowd and (the city) has a young, hip vibe. I love that.”
Scroggy relocated to Columbus over a year ago from Athens to follow her professional dream of working at a high level as a structural engineer.
Due to a strong swimming connection with referee and engineer John Wilson, CEO of her firm Paul J. Ford & Company, she was able to advance her career and work on projects about which she’s very interested.
She works in the telecommunications area of the company, creating new and innovative ways to place antennae on buildings and structures that already exist without necessarily building new cell phone towers.
“It’s amazing how cyclical it all is because the industry is constantly changing,” said Scroggy, who chose engineering over business as her major and career track after going through orientation before her freshman year at the University of Georgia.
“It’s a cool way of looking at existing structures and the way things are changing how the world is now.”
Scroggy’s world once revolved around swimming. She started as a 5-year-old and continued at a very high pace until she retired after Olympic Trials in 2012.
After experiencing her best season in 2010 – where she made the Pan Pacific Championship team and won a relay (800 freestyle) gold and individual silver (200 free) – things started going downhill and she doubted her future in the sport.
The following year, she swam on the U.S. World Championship team but failed to medal, finished 20th in the 200 freestyle and not competing in the relay events.
Going into Olympic Trials in 2012, she said she wasn’t swimming well at all but remained hopeful that she could pull it together and make the team.
When she didn’t, she decided to move on and embrace the next phase of her life.
“After having a bad meet at Trials, I stopped swimming and went back home to Oregon for a little while and then returned to Athens to start an internship at a local engineering firm.
That internship turned into a full-time position, and while she did some coaching to stay connected to swimming, she didn’t enjoy it and stepped away permanently from the sport.
And while she immediately missed the camaraderie of being part of her teams, Scroggy said she knew when she retired it was the right decision and time.
She left with no regrets.
“I had gotten to a point with swimming where I was frustrated with the fact that I had reached a certain level of success but wasn’t going any higher than where I was,” said Scroggy, who swam a leg on three gold medal-winning relays at the 2009 World University Games. “I was stuck in the same spot, and it became harder and harder to break through.
“Because I didn’t make the National Team after Trials, I wasn’t receiving a stipend and that meant I needed to work to support myself. I could have asked for help from my parents if I felt like I could take my swimming to the next level, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I wanted to be self-sufficient and move forward.”
A new homeowner – she recently closed on a condo in the downtown Columbus area within walking distance of work as well as shops and restaurants – Scroggy said she definitely feels like she has established roots.
But with her family spread across the globe – her younger sister lives and works in Costa Rica – she said she would love if, in the future, everyone could return to Oregon to be near their parents and be a family that doesn’t need to travel far for holidays, birthdays and other events.
“That may not be back in Oregon, but that’s where mom and dad (and her younger brother) are, so that makes the most sense, and we all love that part of the country,” she said.
For now, however, she’s happy to live and work in Ohio, and every day in personal and professional life, Scroggy relies upon many of the lessons she learned as a competitive swimmer and athlete.
“Hard work – by far the biggest thing is that you can’t be successful unless you work hard,” she said. “That sets you apart so much from others. Knowing you put in extra time and effort – going the extra mile, swimming extra yardage, spending extra time in the weight room – pays off.
“It’s something that impacts me every day at work and in my life since swimming, and I’m incredibly grateful to have learned that doing something that I absolutely loved.”