Westbrook senior Caitlin McNary has accomplished a lot in her four years as a high school swimmer, a four-time Register All-Area girls swimming selection including three seasons as Area MVP, a feat that becomes even more impressive since Westbrook doesn’t have a girls swim team.
The past four girls swimming seasons, she has been a team of one from Westbrook and sometimes a team of two or three. But the combination of natural talent, a strong support group, her dedication and love of the sport and her focus on mental preparation when competing led to consistent success in the postseason.
As a freshman, competing for Westbrook with her mentor and older sister Coral McNary, a senior at the time, and Mira Stewiart, a junior, Caitlin McNary was second in the 200 freestyle (1:53.33) and fourth in the 100 freestyle (52.61) at the CIAC State Open and won the 200 freestyle (1:54.30) and the 100 freestyle (52.46) at the Class S meet.
In her sophomore season, competing as a team of one, at the Class S meet McNary won the 200 freestyle (1:53.49) and the 100 backstroke (58.08) and at the State Open, she took second in the 100 backstroke (58.11) and fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:54.16).
As a junior, competing with her younger sister Marissa, at the State Open McNary was second in the 500 freestyle (5:00.47) and third in the 200 freestyle (1:51.25, personal best) and at the Class S meet she won the 500 (5:04.49) and was second in the 200 (1:52.59).
In her senior season, at the State Open she was second in the 200 freestyle (1:50.96) and the 100 freestyle (51.08) and at Class S she won the 200 freestyle (1:50.89) and the 100 freestyle (51.46).
McNary qualified for All-American status in the 100 freestyle and holds school records in the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle.
For her effort this season she has been named the Register All-Area girls swimming MVP for the second straight season. She also earned the honor as a freshman.
McNary credits her support group for much of her success starting with her family – parents Georgia and David, and her sisters. During McNary’s high school career, although she couldn’t compete in regular season dual meets, Hand coach Jen Lyman allowed her to train with the Tigers and McNary also credits the support of Lyman and the Tigers swimmers in helping her develop. Lyman also has been her youth swim club coach.
And then there has been the support of her friends at Westbrook.
“It’s been an exciting four seasons,” McNary said. “This season I was extremely happy with my finishes and times at the State Open. I have accomplished so much because I have had so much great support from everyone especially my family, my parents and sisters.
“As a freshman you don’t know what to expect. But as I’ve gotten older I have focused more on the mental part of swimming, stabilizing my focus. I’ve been keeping it under control more and my goal since my freshman season has been to not be overwhelmed. As long as I was under control I told myself you’ll be fine.”
In October McNary committed to swim at Fordham.
“Finding the right college that had great academics and where I could swim was always on my mind in my high school career,” McNary said. “Going to a place like Fordham is something I have been working for the last four years.
“As soon as I stepped on the campus I knew it was where I wanted to go.”