Grant dominates pool, prepares for postseason ahead

BY JONATHAN PRESSMAN ’14
Senior Staff Writer

Katherine Grant ’15 is no stranger to success in the swimming pool. Last year, in her debut season with the Diplomats, Grant reset two school records, medaling twice at the Centennial Conference Championships, in addition to posting an undefeated record in the 1,000-yard freestyle.

In high school, Grant was a member of a highly competitive club team, and was one of just two swimmers on the team who chose not to compete at the Division I level. But that decision never slowed Grant, despite her teammates’ disapprobation of her decision.

“I definitely wanted to swim DIII so that I would have the opportunity to do other things while in college instead of just focusing on a sport,” Grant said. “I was one of two kids on my club team when they graduated to go DIII and it was kind of something that was looked down upon and everyone thought that I was almost taking the easy way out by going DIII. It was tough just because I was on the national team for my club team and I was swimming with kids who were going to Olympic trials and training for very large national meets, so to have them think that I was taking the easy way out was rough, but I just knew that this was what I wanted to do and this is what I needed to do, and I’m 100 percent happy with the decision I made.”

Since her matriculation at F&M, not once has Grant regretted her college decision, nor has she allowed the less competitive atmosphere to hinder her dominance in the water. This year, besides the team’s perpetual goal of winning the Conference Championship, Grant fully intends on earning a trip to the NCAA National Championship, an accomplishment she fell just shy of last year. Grant is currently seeded sixth nationally in the mile, and will be looking to improve upon her time this season.

But Grant’s ambitions extend far beyond the realm of personal achievements, and though only a two-year member of the team, she has exemplified leadership skills well beyond her years.

In the swimming pool, Grant is constantly inspiring teammates, but believes the impetus of her success all along has been her team, her family.

“My team is one of my biggest motivators,” Grant said. “Every single day we all get to practice and we all have the common goal of winning championships and ever since the season started, we’ve just been so motivated to do our very best. Even if I go into practice with the worst attitude or one of my laziest days, they push me harder than I could ever push myself and they just have the ability to keep me going.”

Having been in a leadership position in high school, Grant knows the importance of leadership, and is fortunate for the opportunity to help peers both in and out of the water. On campus, Grant is a member of the recently instituted Harwood Leadership Seminar, a program enabling her to practice and build leadership qualities.

One of Grant’s fondest high school swimming memories did not come during her own victory, but rather as a result of a teammate’s success. During her senior season, Grant attended nationals with her team, a high profile meet which served host to dozens of college scouts and coaches searching for young talent. As a nervous teammate prepared for her race, Grant reassured her of her abilities, and helped her to stay calm, reminding her of her hard work and success throughout the season.

“She ended up doing incredible; I think she was third at nationals,” Grant said. “When it came time for the awards ceremony, she had me go up in place of her, because she told me there was no way she would have been able to accomplish what she accomplished that day if it wasn’t for my help. It was definitely a special moment.”

While Grant had ample opportunities and the raw talent to compete at the DI level, her experiences here at F&M have meant much more to her than the elite competition.

As a dominant swimmer and a pivotal role-player on the team, Grant has truly embraced her F&M family, thanking each and every coach and team member of the F&M swim family.

Beginning on Feb. 22, Grant and F&M will host the Centennial Conference Championships, marking the zenith of the team’s season, and the opportunity to qualify for the National Championship meet.

“I can’t wait to see what we accomplish at championships,” Grant said. “I know that we’ve been working so hard and there are only good things to come for the rest of the season.”

Questions? Email Jonathan at jpressma@fandm.edu.

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