First Lane – Classical swim star Katelyn Kidney will attend Bryant University

Katelyn Kidney is destined for the Lynn Classical High School Hall of Fame one day but she’s still adding to her legacy as one of the city’s greatest female swimmers/athletes of all time.

Kidney, the 2010 Lynn Female Swimmer of the Year, will be competing at the highest level of collegiate swimming when she heads to Bryant University in Rhode Island this fall. Kidney made her intention official during a signing ceremony and press conference Friday afternoon at Classical. Bryant is a Division 1 school that competes in the Northeast Conference.

“This is a great achievement for Katelyn and it shows that if you work hard, you can attain your goals,” said Classical Principal Gene Constantino. “Katelyn has been a great role model in our school and a goodwill ambassador for our athletic program and our swimming program. The Classical community is very proud of her.”

Also present for the ceremony were Katelyn’s parents, Kevin and Judy; Classical swim coach Denise Silva; YMCA of the North Shore coach Jim Houlihan; and Classical Athletic Director Bill Devin.

Silva said her star athlete improved her times each season, earned the respect of everyone in the program, and was selected as a captain in her junior and senior seasons.

“Katelyn’s been truly dedicated to the sport of swimming for a lot of years and it’s nice to watch her maturity and her abilities be recognized through numerous accomplishments,” said Silva. “She used to walk around the deck as a youngster when her sister Heather swam for Classical. She truly excels at long distance but she excels at any event. She’s been a blessing to our program and will be very difficult to replace.”

Houlihan also extended his congratulations to Kidney.

“I just want to say, congratulations on your accomplishments and your acceptance into your first choice, Bryant University,” said Houlihan. “I know the best is yet to come. Her last year was her best year and I know she has four more good years ahead. Her college coach is going to see that he has a great young lady.”

Katelyn Kidney began swimming at the age of 3 at the Lynn YMCA, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Heather, a former Classical swimmer. She moved on to the YMCA of the North Shore program in Salem. She has found a permanent home at the new YMCA of the North Shore, Marblehead, as a member of the YNS team.

“It was in middle school when I really started to reach my potential in swimming,” said Kidney. “My best event was the butterfly.”

Kidney switched to the freestyle event and joined forces with Houlihan, who has been her YNS coach for the past six years.

Kidney participates in seven to eight practices a week, often preceding her day at Classical with a swimming session at the Marblehead YMCA pool.

The additional work and fine tuning under the direction of coaches Silva and Houlihan paid dividends. Silva began to drop time from her 200-meter and 500-meter freestyle events, setting several school records in the process.

The pretty 5-foot-6-inch senior has also been a regular at the YMCA Nationals, most recently competing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Kidney will compete in the 200 and 500 freestyle and the 200 butterfly event at Bryant.

“I met the coaches at Bryant and I just like the whole school environment,” said Kidney. “I’m excited to be going to Bryant, but I know I’ll miss Classical, especially the swim team.”

Judy Kidney summed up the feelings of everyone who has watched her daughter Katelyn develop into a superb high school athlete and all-around student.

“She’s a good kid and I’m very proud of her,” said Mrs. Kidney. “I’m excited that she’s going to be in a Division 1 school. She’s smart, bright, amazingly fast in swimming and I love her.”

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