By Laura Carr
Special to The Denisonian
Carolyn Kane hastily readjusts her goggles and swim cap before stepping onto the starting block. She takes a deep breath to calm her nerves. The starter says, “On your marks,” and she crouches down on the block. A loud beep echoes off the walls of Kenyon College’s swimming facility, signaling the start of her race. She dives into the water and quickly builds a lead for her team in the first leg of her relay.
Kane, a freshman on the swim team, earned North Coast Athletic Conference Women’s Athlete of the Week honors after her performance on Oct. 19 at the Kenyon Relays in Gambier, Ohio.
Denison’s women’s team defeated Kenyon 114-112 to win the meet. Kane swam in six relays, including all four of the Big Red’s winning relays, to help lead the Big Red to the team title.
She swam the second leg of Denison’s winning 500-yard crescendo relay, which posted a time of 4:36.09. She also swam the lead leg of the 200 butterfly (1:45.12), 400 individual medley (4:03.82) and 200 freestyle relays (1:36.93). She posted splits of 52.42 seconds for the 100 leg of the 500-yard crescendo relay, 1:00.19 for her leg of the 400 IM, 26.04 in the 200-butterfly relay and 24.29 in her 50-yard leg of the 200 freestyle relay.
“I got close to my best time in the 50 freestyle,” Kane said. “There are always things that I can improve on, though; I need to build my strength and work on my technique in the water.”
In addition, Kane swam on Denison’s second place 200-yard medley relay (1:47.58) and 200-yard backstroke relay (1:48.50).
Head swimming and diving coach, Gregg Parini, is excited about the potential of his freshmen athletes. “Carolyn [Kane] posted some very solid early season swims—the result of some very good efforts in practice over the first month of the season,” Parini said. “[She] is off to a good start. We’re only two meets into the season, so it’s very early. Carolyn is a member of a very talented and deep group of sprinters on the women’s team.”
Parini is looking forward to seeing how Kane progresses in the rest of the season. “Our biggest meets are still to come, and everything we’re doing right now in terms of training and competition is pointed towards getting the team prepared for conference and national championships in February and March,” Parini explained. “We’d expect Carolyn to be a significant contributor at those meets.”
Kane says that her favorite events are the 50 and 100-yard freestyles. Her personal records include 23.33 seconds in the 50 and 51.30 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle.
The freshman attended Minnetonka High School in Minnesota. At the Minnesota State Championships, she capped off her high school career with wins in both of her relays, a second place finish in the 50-yard freestyle and third place in the 100-yard freestyle.
Kane, whose twin sister Liz is also a member of Denison’s swimming and diving team, began swimming competitively at the age of six. Her dedication to her sport has taken her to meets across the country, including Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and North Dakota. She chose Denison for its strengths in both academics and athletics, as well as the team camraderie.
“The transition from high school swimming to the collegiate level is that college practices are more intense,” Kane said. “We have ten practices a week and have to wake up at 5 a.m. almost every morning.”
She claims that her favorite aspect of swimming is being a part of a team.
“I’m with the swim team for a majority of my day; I get so close to them, they become my best friends and like family to me,” she said. “At Denison swimming and diving, we strive to be the best, so [the team’s] goal is to win Nationals at the end of the season.”
Kane and the Big Red will face Division I schools Ohio State University, Cleveland State and Virginia Tech in a quad-meet on Nov. 1 at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.