You can’t blame Morgan Joseph if she marvels at the synchronicity that brought her to the Greater Marco Family YMCA staff.
The upbeat, youthful, Pittsburgh-area native has been the Y’s aquatics director since January, replacing Hannah Heidenreich. She first came onboard last July, when she was hired as a lifeguard.
Joseph brings a stellar background to the position.
She was a scholarship collegiate swimmer at Edinboro University, a Division II school in Pennsylvania. Her competitive career began at age 7, perhaps ironically, at a Y; in this case the Richard G. Snyder YMCA in her hometown of Kittanning, Pa.
“That’s basically where it all started for me,” said Joseph. “I took swim lessons when I was born through the ‘Mommy and Me’ program, up through the swim team. Then I joined a USA Swimming team and did that all through high school.”
College came next. There, she competed in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke, freestyle sprint events and on backstroke sprint relay teams, before graduating in the spring of 2018. She also qualified for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships all four years while at Edinboro.
“Swimming has really taken me a long way and it’s really the only sport that’s had a huge impact on my life,” said Joseph.
The sport has also dominated her professional life, thus far.
Her first job, at age 16, was as a lifeguard at a recreational complex in Kittanning, where she eventually became aquatic supervisor. During summers, while attending college, she served as the swim team’s head coach.
“I grew that team from about 20 kids to roughly 40 by the time I left,” said Joseph. “I really tried to promote the program and have swim camps and that sort of thing. I went out into the community and the schools and spoke with the leaders. It really helped our program and I’m hoping to do that on Marco.”
Joseph moved to Marco last July, to join her boyfriend, Jud Toth, who’d arrived that February. Toth is a universal banker at the SunTrust Bank branch on the island.
“As a couple, we see a lot of the same people. They come here and swim, I see them during the day and then go to the bank,” said Joseph, who is also Marco Island Academy’s head swim coach.
She didn’t expect something swimming-related to be a profession right out of college. But she finds the position to be very rewarding and without a doubt, fitting.
“My dad was on the board at the Y and he taught classes, and as I grew up and went to high school, I taught classes. It all came together here, where my background in swimming and my background with the YMCA sort of just fell into place.”
Joseph earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, with minors in chemistry and psychology. Her sights were set on becoming a physician’s assistant. But she decided to take a “gap year” after graduation to get settled after moving and decide what she really wanted to with her life. She’s now studying Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in hopes of entering med school.
But for right now, she’s loving life on Marco.
“In many ways, it’s the same as my hometown. It’s a small town. You know pretty much everybody. You see the same person at the grocery story as you do when you go out to dinner. I like that aspect of it, coming from a small community. But at the same time, there’s a lot more to do here because it is a vacation-resort town. Every weekend there’s an art festival or there’s a music festival and there are the different restaurants to go to.”