All-Metro girls swimming and diving athlete of the year: Westminster’s O’Meara happy to lend a helping hand | Girls Swimming



Westminster senior Margo O’Meara is the 2021 Post-Dispatch All-Metro girls swimmer and diver of the year. O’Meara, who has signed with Duke, was Missouri’s first four-time girls diving state champion. Gordon Radford, Special to STLhighschoolsports.com




Westminster senior Margo O’Meara was there to greet fellow competitor Annie Fox just seconds after Fox completed her final dive during Missouri’s 46th Girls Swimming and Diving Championships in February.

Fox, a senior at Villa Duchesne, was overcome with emotion after nailing a dive that vaulted her into a third-place finish in the Class 1 meet. She popped out of the water and immediately jumped into the waiting arms of O’Meara.

The two shared a tender moment, with tears coming from both girls.

O’Meara, the most decorated high school diver Missouri has ever seen, captured her record fourth successive championship less than 10 minutes later.

But for the time being, she was helping Fox enjoy her moment in the sun.

“It took me a couple minutes, but then it hit me, ‘I’ve got to get ready for my dive,’ ” O’Meara said. “I was just so happy for her, I sort of forgot about myself.”

Fox was overjoyed to have O’Meara join her in celebration.

“That’s just who she is,” Fox said. “How many competitors not only help you out with advice and encouragement, but are there for you at your finest moment?”

Yes, O’Meara — the only four-time champion in girls state diving history — enjoys helping others as much as she enjoys her own success.



Margo O'Meara, Westminster, 2021 All-Metro girls swimmer and diver of the year

Westminster senior Margo O’Meara is the 2021 Post-Dispatch All-Metro girls swimmer and diver of the year. O’Meara, who has signed with Duke, was Missouri’s first four-time girls diving state champion. Gordon Radford, Special to STLhighschoolsports.com




O’Meara is headed to Duke University for her college career. But first, she will compete in early June at the United States Olympic Diving Trials in Indianapolis.

The Missouri high school record-holder for most points in a state meet — male or female — could be in Tokyo when the Summer Games begin July 23.

Still, O’Meara is as grounded as they come. Her penchant for helping competitors is well known in diving circles.

Any time anyone wants assistance on how to land a dive, O’Meara is there. Need a few tips on handling the mental aspect of the sport?

Go see “Gogo,” which is O’Meara’s nickname.

“As good a diver as she is, and we all know how good she is, she’s an even better person,” John Burroughs coach Leslie Kehr said. “Margo is special, in and out of the water.”

Kehr would know. She was the diving coach at Old Warson Country Club when O’Meara approached her about giving the sport a try.

O’Meara was just 6 years old at the time. Kehr entered her in the only meet available — an under-10 competition. O’Meara blitzed the field and has never looked back.

Stories of O’Meara’s generosity and kindness are well known along pool decks through the Midwest. Cape Girardeau Central freshman Tommy-Anne Marriott, who finished second at the state meet, long has admired O’Meara.

“She’s willing to help anyone out at any time,” Marriott said minutes after the state meet. “With Margo, second is almost like being first. When she’s here, first place doesn’t exist for anyone else.”



Margo O'Meara, Westminster, 2021 All-Metro girls swimmer and diver of the year

Westminster senior Margo O’Meara is the 2021 Post-Dispatch All-Metro girls swimmer and diver of the year. O’Meara, who has signed with Duke, was Missouri’s first four-time girls diving state champion. Gordon Radford, Special to STLhighschoolsports.com




O’Meara is as hungry to win as any athlete. She works countless hours on each type of dive, not moving on to another until she has reached a level she considers satisfying.

Yet she possesses a soft spot in her heart for the sport she loves. She wants everyone to reach their highest level and is willing to surrender some of her secrets to see others achieve their goals.

“I just really enjoy watching people get better,” O’Meara said. “Helping others — it’s pretty cool.”

Margo’s parents, Michael and Cathleen, are extremely proud of the way their daughter carries herself.

“She’s very competitive, but if someone asks her something, she’ll give them the advice she thinks they need,” Michael said. “That’s just her way.”

Added Cathleen, “I think when she was young and kind of nervous just starting out, she remembers that there were people that helped her. Now, she’s in position to do that for others and she enjoys it,”

O’Meara has dominated the sport on the high school level like no one before her. She grabbed her first state crown as a freshman with a score of 499.80 — 133 points ahead of the second-place finisher.

She defended that crown as a sophomore with a 520.25 before crushing the state record with a whopping 636.50 total as a junior. That score broke a 28-year-old mark set by Julie Grimmer of Nerinx Hall, who recorded a 523.50 in 1991.

O’Meara wanted to better that number this season but came up just short with 621.45 score. She finished a combined 592 points ahead of all runner-up finishers during her amazing four-year run.

The 5-foot-5 powder keg honed her craft under Westminster diving coach Steve Braun, a three-time state champion at Webster Groves.

Right now, O’Meara is in Indianapolis working under the tutelage of John Wingfield, the U.S. diving coach in 2008. She is going through a rigorous six-day regimen that includes three hours in the water, three on dry land in addition to other weight room work.

Plus she is keeping her grade-point-average around the 3.5 mark by taking Westminster’s online classes.

At first, O’Meara had her sights set on the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France. But her recent performances on the club level, along with her work in Indianapolis, give her a realistic opportunity of making the Olympic team this summer.

“It definitely could be a possibility,” O’Meara said. “I feel like I’m diving real well right now. Obviously, I have more to go. If I hit my dives like I hope to, it could happen.”

O’Meara’s lifelong dream has been to represent her county in the Olympics. And her fellow divers are just as excited at the possibility.

“It’s so great to watch her do such amazing things,” Fox said. “Just to say that she’s my friend makes me feel so good.”

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