Torrington High School 50-yard line

Julia McCarthy Providence Gets a Great Raider

A Profile of a Champion

1. What went into your decision to attend Providence?

I was fortunate enough to get all my college visits in before the lockdown hit. However, I was never able to take my official visits to any of the colleges. Providence stood out to me from the very beginning but they became my number one when they worked with me to make the recruiting process as normal as possible given the circumstances. They knew I was unable to meet the team in person, however, they set up a zoom call with me to meet the team, which no other college offered me.  It showed me how much the coaches cared and how much the team cared to take time out of their day to meet with me. 

2. When did you first hear from them?

I first came in contact with Providence in the summer going into my junior year and we stayed in contact through the fall, I was able to attend a swim meet in November of 2019. I came to the decision to verbally commit with them at the beginning of September. 

3. Who else was in the mix of choices?

Along with Providence I also was in contact with Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. 

4. Talk about your years in the pool. From freshman to now. How did you develop your skills?

It is crazy to think that I am a senior, it went by so fast. I remember being a naive freshman not really knowing what to expect. I think every year I definitely improved, through technique, strength, and body awareness. None of my four seasons were the same, each season I focused on different events. This year’s pre-season training for me took place in lakes and ponds and lots of running, it was a unique experience. 

5. What events did you swim? 

Like I said previously no two seasons were alike, each year I focused on different events, I was able to go All-State freshman, sophomore, and junior year. Freshman year I got thirf in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke at States. Sophomore year I got third in the 200-yard Individual Medley and second in the 100-yard backstroke. Junior year I got second in the 100-yard butterfly and 4th in the 100-yard breaststroke. This year I focused on the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle, I was able to get the 50-yard free record and was two seconds from the 100-yard free record. If we did have our championships, I am confident I would have gotten the record. I was very fortunate to get six out of the eight individual school records.

6. Talk about your coach and teammates

The past four years with the team have been amazing. Our team is rather small with only twelve girls but it has its advantages because we are all friends. During our meets, if you were not swimming you were screaming and cheering on your teammates and friends. All of the girls have passions and I’m truly excited to see what they do in the future. 

These past four years have been amazing with Coach Christine Harding, who was always working with me to improve my skills and help me achieve my goals. I am truly grateful for all the time and energy she has put into me and this team. She pushed me but, always made sure I was having fun while doing so.  I would not be the swimmer I am without her. I also have to mention my club coach, Dave Steel, who has been my coach for the past none years, he has also shaped me into the swimmer I am and pushed me to be better than I ever could imagine.

7. How has this year and the pandemic changed things for you. In the pool, in school and out of school? Did it affect your club swimming? 

A lot has changed due to the pandemic, swimming has a very different atmosphere. During practices we had two girls in each lane on opposite walls. Usually, three or four swimmers share a lane and push off the wall same wall in five-second increments. Swim meets were also strange being virtual, with very few spectators and not actually swimming against another team, which created very quiet meets. My club team, the Lasers, have been having consistent practices but again just not the same.  We are all spaced out in lanes two-three people per lane, one person in the deep end, one in the middle of the pool, and the other in the shallow end. We have not been able to have any meets against other teams yet this season. Unfortunately, starting November 23rd all club sports have been put on hold until mid-January, resulting in me having to put in work outside of the pool, and swimming on my own. School is also extremely strange, I go to school two to three days a week depending on the week, and not seeing many of my classmates because we are on different days. However, teachers have been very helpful in trying to help us and keep us connected and engaged. 

8. How is everybody in the family doing? What are your siblings doing now? 

All three of my siblings, Caitlin, John, and Cara have graduated from college, and are all currently living and working in South Boston. I also wanted to give a shout out and a thank you to my parents for always getting me to my practices, waking up at four to get me ready for morning practices, and the countless weekends they spent at pools for seven hours to watch me for less than seven minutes, I could not have done it without them.

9. What are you planning on majoring in at Providence?

I applied to Providence College as a Finance major. 

10. What did you think about the new school vote going through?

I think the new school is a wonderful thing, I have seen the video of what the school should look like, the school looks amazing and will definitely be a great thing for future generations. However, I would be lying if I said I am not disappointed there is not a pool included in the plans.

More stories by Timothy W. Gaffney.

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