Many thought University of Wisconsin women’s swimmer Maggie Meyer had an impressive season last year, but this year she has only gotten better.

The junior swimmer, a native of North Oaks, Minn., has been named Big Ten Women’s Swimmer of the Week multiple times this year, a clear sign of her role as one of the top swimmers in the conference this year. Meyer was even named National Collegiate Swimmer of the Week in November after an impressive performance against Big Ten opponent Northwestern.

Meyer has led the Wisconsin women’s swimming team all season, and this past weekend at the Texas Invitational, Meyer allowed the Badgers to claim third at the event. At the meet, Meyer also finished the 100-meter backstroke in 52.64 seconds, a time that currently leads the country.

“We had really strong momentum coming out of the summer season,” Meyer said. “I think that just that momentum allowed me to train really hard for fall and keep my eye on my main goals.”

“I think the Texas Invite is just indicative of the progress [Meyer’s] continuing to make,” UW head coach Eric Hansen added. “It wasn’t a surprise to me at all, and I actually think she’s substantially faster than what she showed there.”

According to her teammates, however, Meyer’s success this year is heavily credited to her relentless work ethic.

“Maggie is a very hard worker…she’s very motivated and she’ll do whatever it takes to get to that level,” sophomore teammate Ashley Wanland said.

“I’ve just been really, really focused this year,” Meyer added. “I have some big goals and expectations to perform really well and I know…what I have to do in the pool right now in order to reach those goals.”

Stepping into a crucial leadership role is something that has allowed Meyer to help her teammates improve this year as well

“She sets the standard in the majority of things that we do,” Hansen said. “Just leading by example is important.”

Meyer also seems to enjoy leading the team. Although it is a new role, it is one she has stepped into gracefully.

Meyer’s swimming achievements stretch beyond the Big Ten, however, as both she and Wanland are members of the 2009-2010 U.S. National team. A telling sign of the duo’s ability in the pool, this is perhaps the most impressive feat of Meyer’s career so far.

Meyer and Wanland were able to qualify for the team with great performances in the U.S. Open and World Championships, with Meyer even winning the 200-meter backstroke at this year’s U.S. Open.

“We just raced our hearts out and placed like top-three in the events,” Wanland said. “Coming in we had, we set high goals for each other, maybe making top eight.”

Competing on the national team will certainly be a challenge for Meyer and Wanland, but it also gives them the opportunity to survey their skills on a national level.

Having two swimmers on the national team will also help the UW women’s swimming program gain more national attention.

“I think it’s really cool that Ashley and I earned spots on the team this year because it really was to represent Wisconsin well and kind of get Wisconsin, get the name out there in the swimming world,” Meyer said.

While Meyer has been impressive so far, the rest of the season also appears to hold good things for her. Her hope is to continue to power the UW women’s swimming team and perform as strongly as she has so far for the rest of the season.

The season also looks very promising for Wisconsin as a whole, and with the remarkable talent of Mayer and her teammates everyone is already looking forward to the NCAA Championships in March.

“Maggie’s an important part of what we’re doing,” Hansen said. “But it’s going to take more than just one person to do what we think we can do at the NCAA Championships.”