South Jersey Sports Report: The CAL Girls Swimmer of the Year and All-Stars
If you were standing on the pool deck at Mainland Regional High School, you’d have a hard time picking out the state’s best swimmer. She’s not 5-foot-10 with broad shoulders. In fact, she looks just like any other swimmer on the Mustangs’ roster.
Junior Katie McClintock might not display an imposing presence, but once she gets in the water it’s tough for anybody to keep up with her. She was named Swimmer of the Year for the entire state by nj.com, won a pair of Meet of Champions titles — breaking her own 200-yard IM record on both days of the event — and she set two national public school records at the Cape-Atlantic League Championships. Glory Days Magazine’s Girls Swimmer of the Year also helped lead the Mustangs to one of their best seasons ever, a 13-1 record that included their first trip to the sectional finals in seven years.
“She works incredibly hard and certainly has earned what she’s accomplished, and we’re all pretty fired up for her because of that. She’s just so committed to the sport in so many different ways. She works as hard as she can in and out of the water to continue to grow and improve, which is really her No. 1 goal. To see state championships as well as school, state, CAL, Hackney and South Jersey records fall is really neat. Right now we’re kind of witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime athlete in front of us,” said Mainland coach Mike Schiavo. “We knew she was talented, we knew she was committed, the question was just how fast could she get? I don’t know if I could ever have imagined the success that she’s had already in three years.”
Schiavo said that sometimes high school girls swimmers see their best times early in their careers and then begin to fade as they get older, but for McClintock it’s been the exact opposite. She just keeps getting better.
“I’ve been around long enough to know that a lot of times, especially girls, will plateau in high school, and early in high school, unfortunately. Some of the best female swimmers, sadly — and it’s kind of a tough high school reality — they just get frustrated because they’re not dropping time. Sometimes, size does have something to do with it in a lot of different ways. But on the other side of that, I’ve seen some really fast girls who are Katie’s stature. They don’t always have to be 5-foot-10. It’s a sport where height helps, but success comes in all shapes and sizes. I remember seeing a girl who was barely 5-feet and she was the fastest sprinter in the state, won the 50 and 100 free her freshman year back in the early 90s,” Schiavo said. “I’m excited that she’s been able to continue to grow, and it’s not just because of her work ethic and attitude, but what she’s been doing all these years prior to high school. The coaches out at EHT Seahawks — and her mom is one of them — they’ve had a really nice, long-term plan for her. Instead of trying to get too much out of her too soon, they brought her along nicely. She’s still growing and they are still adding things, and because of that she’s still getting faster. That puts a smile on her face, which is the No. 1 thing.”
That long-term plan includes collegiate swimming, and in February McClintock announced she has given a verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin.
“My two top choices were UNC-Chapel Hill and Wisconsin. When I visited Wisconsin, I really liked the city, and the coaches were awesome. The team was all really nice and it seemed like the best fit for me. It was a tough decision. It really came down to the fact that I felt like I had a really good connection to the Wisconsin coaches and the team. Right when I walked on campus, I pretty much knew it was a good fit for me,” McClintock said. “It’s really nice. I still have to keep my grades up, keep swimming fast and keep doing what I do, but it’s nice to have that extra stress out of the way and just have fun. The recruiting process started in June — I was obviously doing research before that — but in mid-June is when they started calling me and showing interest. I only took two recruiting trips, one to UNC in September and then in mid-October I went to Wisconsin. It was a short process, but definitely time consuming. I’m definitely happy. I totally saw myself there as soon as I walked on campus. I’m really excited.”
Here’s a look at Glory Days Magazine’s girls swimming All-Stars for the 2019-2020 season.
Katie McClintock, Mainland: Glory Days Magazine Girls Swimmer of the Year.
Grace Gallagher, Mainland: Took on a captain’s role this year for the Mustangs and didn’t disappoint, leading Mainland to a 13-1 record and a spot in the sectional championship meet for the first time in seven years. She also took fifth in the 400 freestyle at the MOC, her first time qualifying.
Maddie Falk, Mainland: Another talented and versatile swimmer in the Mustangs’ lineup, she was part of a medley relay team that took third at the MOC.
Megan Fox, Atlantic City: It’s hard to believe that Fox is still just a sophomore given the success she’s already had in her high school career. This year, she finished sixth at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions in the 500 freestyle and also took eighth in the 200 free. She won the 200 and the 400 freestyle races at the Hackney meet as well as the CAL Championships.
Alexandria Cotter, Egg Harbor Township: The Eagles have become one of the best teams in the Cape-Atlantic League and South Jersey Group 4 the past couple of years, and Cotter is a big reason why. She took third in the 100 butterfly at the MOC, was the CAL butterfly champion with a time of 1:03.66, and took home four gold medals at Hackneys.
Ava McDonough, Egg Harbor Township: The junior is another lynchpin in EHT’s recent success. She scored a top-20 finish in the state in the 100 breaststroke and was part of the Eagles’ 200 medley relay team that took seventh overall. She also was the CAL and Hackney champion in the 100 breaststroke.
Olivia Evans, Egg Harbor Townshhip: Just a sophomore, Evans finished 11th in the state in the 50 free and anchored the medley relay team that set a record at Hackneys.
Alex Antonov, Ocean City: A 100 freestyle CAL champion, Antonov also anchored Ocean City’s dominating 200 freestyle relay team. She scored a pair of top-20 individual finishes at MOC.
Olivia and Claudia Scherbin, Ocean City: These sisters are a big reason why Ocean City has been able to sustain its success the past couple of years. Olivia, a sophomore, took ninth in the 100 free at the MOC while Claudia, a senior, won the league title in the 50 free and led off the 200 free relay team that took second in the
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays
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