Taylor Beagle has been beating records throughout her swimming career at Augustana. She was recently named swimmer of the meet at the NSIC championships and NSIC 2020 Swimmer of the Year.
“The team aspect of making a name for Augie is the biggest thing that I really wanted to do,” Beagle said. “I wanted to make [the] Augie swim program a big name in the swimming world.”
This past year, Beagle earned First Team All-America in the 1,000-free, Second-Team All-America in the 400-IM, Second Team All-America honors in the 500-free and Second Team All-America honors in the 1650-free. Beagle won the 1,000-free in a new NSIC record time at the NSIC championships, and the 400-IM and the 1,650-free at the conference meet.
At Augustana, Beagle holds individual records for the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 1,000 freestyle, 1,650 freestyle, the 200 IM and the 400 IM. With her teammates she holds the 400 and 800 freestyle relay records.
Beagle grew up in Lead, South Dakota, and started swimming at four years old when her mom put both her and her sister in swimming lessons. Growing up, Beagle swam in club teams: the Deadwood/Lead 76ers until eighth grade and the Black Hills Gold until college.
“Being part of a small team, I knew the names of all the little kids on the team,” Beagle said. “We knew everybody on the team down from the 18-year-olds to the 8-and-under kids. It made it seem like more of a family.”
As a three sport athlete in high school, Beagle also played volleyball and golf. She said she was more into sports for fun than to break any records.
Swimming won out in college over the other two sports for Beagle’s skill and the sport’s challenge. She thought about golfing in college, but wanted something more physically demanding and team-oriented.
Other small schools recruited Beagle, but she chose Augustana because of the school’s biology program and coach Lindsie Micko’s insight about the school’s new swimming program that started just one year before Beagle joined.
“I was excited to be a part of a brand new team and have a foot in helping build that program up from the ground,” Beagle said.
Micko has known Beagle and her family for a long time through South Dakota swimming and has been coaching her for five years.
“Taylor has a great work ethic in everything she does,” Micko said. “She has high expectations for herself, and her results both in the pool and in the classroom can be directly related to her work ethic and expectations.”
Building up the swim programs came with some challenges — particularly in building a team without any upperclassmen — but Beagle enjoyed watching the team grow from losing most of its meets to competing with major teams like St. Cloud State and the University of Sioux Falls.
Micko said that while it was difficult to build a swim program from the ground up, seeing the success Beagle and her teammates have had this past year made the hard work worth it. She hopes the swim team will continue to grow.
Even though Beagle graduated last year with a biology degree, she stayed at Augustana an extra year to make her psychology minor into a major in hopes of getting into graduate school for genetic counseling. She said she also stayed to swim alongside the men’s team, the returning swimmers and new freshmen that promised for a competitive season.
One of Beagle’s favorite moments at Augustana swimming is winning the 800 freestyle relay her sophomore year and earning second this year.
“It’s always fun getting on the podium in a relay because you get to be up there with your teammates,” Beagle said.
When she has time, Beagle likes to golf in the summers and do crafts for fun. After college, she plans to swim recreationally and continue coaching youth swimming in Sioux Falls.
Both Micko and Beagle hope that Beagle is accepted into a genetic counseling program to continue her education in the near future.
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