They are close friends, and on the heels of four consecutive state titles, graduating seniors Racheal McGinnis and Megan Hayes of the Wood River High School and SV5B swim teams will continue their athletic careers at college next fall.
McGinnis has committed to swim for Denver University in Colorado. With the Lady Pioneers she will likely specialize in the 50-, 100-, and 200-yard freestyle sprints. Hayes meanwhile has committed to swim for the University of Idaho and the future Lady Vandal will specialize in the 100- and 200-yard back stroke.
Their coach has nothing but good things to say about the pair.
Brian Gallagher, twice recognized as Idaho's "High School Swim Coach of the Year," said, "These girls have worked extremely hard on a year round basis the past four years. Both have an incredible training ethic and an intense, but delightful, competitive spirit. They have been a joy to coach. They will be dedicated and fine additions to their universities."
Together with their teammates Michael and Taylor Coiner, McGinnis and Hayes share the notoriety of being the fastest 400-yard relay team in the history of Idaho.
During their high school careers McGinnis and Hayes (co-captains in 2008) and their teammates were undefeated in dual, invitational and regional championships capping off each year by winning four consecutive Idaho State swim championships.
Since her freshman year, McGinnis has been on eight state championship relay teams, has won three individual championships and has been second four times.
Hayes has been on five state championship relays and has secured a third-place individual finish at state. "It's tough to get just one championship win," said Gallagher, "yet these two girls have combined for 21 state podium trips during their high school careers".
Both ladies have repeatedly qualified and competed in Sectional and Western Zone (13 Western states including Hawaii) swim meets as two of the premier age-group swimmers in the Western U.S.
"Racheal and Megan are very principled and hold themselves to the highest personal standards. Their perseverance and tenacity make both of them fine additions to the university swim ranks" said Gallagher.
Both girls will graduate with academic honors tonight at Hailey's Wood River High School.
At last Wednesday's WRHS Scholarship Awards program, Hayes earned the Idaho Mountain Express and Ketchum/Sun Valley Rotary scholarships, while McGinnis accepted the Hailey Rotary and Katie Bryson Memorial scholarships.