Mitch Meighen, a junior English/secondary education major, has perfected the three-way balance between academics, sports and co-curricular activities. Meighen began swimming at Gannon University during his freshman year, after swimming throughout high school for Bethel Park Senior High School.
During his freshman and sophomore years, Meighen competed in the men’s 200 and 500 free, men’s 200 breast and the men’s 800 free relay. Meighen holds a Gannon record for the 800 free relay.
This year, Meighen has changed not only his position on the team but the events he competes in as well. Meighen was recently named captain by the team’s coach, Nate Walters. This season he will compete in the men’s 100 and 200 breast, men’s 200 and 400 medley relay, men’s 200 free and men’s 800 free relay.
Meighen said his favorite part of the swim team is the balance of the individual and team aspects.
“I contribute to the team as whole, but I am still pretty much an individual,” Meighen said.
But Meighen does more than just compete at swim meets – he sings at them too. During the second semester of his freshman year, Meighen’s coach approached him and asked if he would be willing to sing the national anthem.
“I have a strong vocal background from all throughout high school and my coach just asked me if I would sing, so now I do,” Meighen said.
Besides singing at swim meets, Meighen now performs “The Star Spangled Banner” at football and basketball home games.
Meighen holds several leadership positions outside the swim team. He serves as vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Each sports team on campus has two representatives on SAAC; Meighen volunteered to represent the men’s swim team. As vice president, Meighen assists the president in organizing events such as Knight Wars – a halftime program during football games that features competitions between members of Gannon clubs.
SAAC is striving to pull together all teams to form a unified sports community – the council encourages teams to attend other sporting events together to show support for each other. Community service is even promoted – SAAC encourages competition amongst teams to complete the most service hours.
Meighen also serves as treasurer of Gannon’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society. As a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Meighen participates in activities such as coffeehouses and fundraising events.
Meighen said he has enjoyed his time at Gannon thus far, and one of the university’s biggest appeals to him is the close-knit community
“When I’m walking to class, I love being able to walk past a group of people and know a lot of them and be able to say hi,” Meighen said. “When I visit friends at other schools, they don’t know anybody. It’s just nice here.”
Get more on Gannon athletics at www.gannonsports.com.