Eamon Monaghan has a bigger support base than the average swimmer.
The youngest of seven children in a family where swimming competitively has been a part of life for many years, Monaghan has a good chance of being the best of them all.
And everyone who shares the family name is pulling for him.
On Feb. 5, the Red Elephants’ sophomore earned the 100-yard butterfly state championship (48.63 seconds) for Class 7A, winning by a razor-thin margin of .03 seconds at Georgia Tech.
His older brother Colin, who was a two-time 100 breaststroke champion at Gainesville High (2014, 2015), was right there at the 2022 state meet as assistant coach for St. Pius X and could cheer on his baby brother’s big moment in Atlanta.
One of six children in his family who swam during his formative years, Eamon has been groomed through the robust Lanier Aquatics program at the Frances Meadows Aquatics Center.
“Ever since I arrived 5 1/2 years ago, Eamon has been an incredible athlete and incredible to watch him train,” Lanier Aquatics coach Crystal Tavares said.
Now that Monaghan has had a few days to soak in becoming a state champion, he’s nothing but smiles.
Eamon said his entire family has been supportive.
And Colin, who competed at the University of Georgia, can’t wait for his little brother to break his own records and earn a spot on the wall at Frances Meadows.
“Everyone has been really happy for me winning state,” Eamon said.
Winning at state came with variables that no swimmer trains for, no matter how many years they’ve been in the pool.
Two heats before Monaghan swam in the preliminaries for the 100 free, a fire with a vending machine forced an evacuation for everyone at Georgia Tech’s natatorium.
Swimming stopped for 45 minutes before getting the green light to return, he said.
However, a later night than expected couldn’t derail Monaghan’s state-title aspirations.
With his first of hopefully many GHSA state championships now in the books, Monaghan hasn’t wasted time getting back to work with Lanier Aquatics, which includes lifting weights in the afternoon and diligent swimming in the evening.
Eamon works with a talented network of swimmers in Gainesville. His next goal is to make it to nationals with his good friend, Cherokee Bluff junior Dean Wall, who was second at state in both the 50 and 100 free.
Talented in multiple events, Monaghan wants to add the 200 individual medley to his list of titles during his final two years of eligibility in high school.
Swimming since he was about 7 at Frances Meadows, Monaghan said his career started to flourish in 2020.
For four months, he couldn’t swim with COVID-19 lockdowns halting all activities at Frances Meadows.
In eighth grade at the time, Monaghan used the time away from the pool to focus on running and started lifting weights to stay in shape.
When the pool reopened in July of 2020, Monaghan had benefitted from a growth spurt and was noticeably stronger.
“Coach pointed out that my voice was deeper,” Monaghan said.
In the two years since, Monaghan said he’s had a renewed focus and practices with more of a purpose than ever before.
“Eamon has been a wonderful inspiration for his younger teammates and even his older teammates,” Tavares said.