Rylee Beidleman thought her days as a competitive swimmer were likely over after her sophomore year at Ripon Christian.
Now, her future in the sport is looking brighter than ever.
She has stamped her name in the Modesto Junior College record books, recently winning two state titles and garnering attention from four-year universities.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Beidleman said of her comeback. “Honestly, I thought I wasn’t going to swim after high school, but coach Eric Fischer from MJC reached out and I was like, ‘Why not try it again?’ I still had the passion for it.”
A product of the Ripon Sea Lions rec program, Beidleman enjoyed two standout years at Ripon Christian before undergoing surgeries on each shoulder. Her sophomore, she won frosh-soph titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle.
The freestyle stroke was her favorite, but it also caused her some pain. Beidleman had multidirectional instability in both shoulders, which would dislocate while swimming. So, she had two surgeries after that sparkling sophomore season and did not compete as a junior. Her season year was wrecked by the spread of COVID-19.
Beidleman rebooted her swim career with MJC in 2020-21, but the Big 8 Conference opted not to participate in sports amid the pandemic.
Despite the three-year layoff from competition, Beidleman’s star is rising in the JUCO ranks and possibly beyond.
Previously a freestyle specialist, she’s now making a name for herself in the breaststroke.
Beidleman was one of the top performers in the California Community College Athletic Association State Championships on May 5-7 at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park. She earned the Women’s Performance of the Meet award for a dominant win the 200 breaststroke, winning in 2 minutes, 21.99 seconds. She also won the 100 breast in 1:04.42 and took fifth in the 50 free (24.87).
“I had a lot of nerves going into it,” Beidleman said. “I thought it could be anyone’s race. I hadn’t had a whole lot of competition all year, and looking at the times there was one girl who all of the sudden had times that were close to mine.”
Beidleman became the first female swimmer from MJC to earn a state crown in 11 years, and both of her breaststroke times at the state meet are new school records. She even holds the program record in the 50 breaststroke (30.46).
As far as what the future holds, Beidleman is still weighing her options as they come in.
“It has been a dream,” Beidleman said. “If you told me I would be doing this a couple years ago, I would have never believed you.”