This is a big week for senior Cassidy Coughlin.
She signed her National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to swim at Texas Christian University. On Saturday, she will try to qualify for her fourth state meet at Glenbrook South’s sectional.
A Wilmette resident, Coughlin (pictured above) said she hasn’t completely processed that her prep career is coming to an end soon.
“I’m still in the moment,” she said. “But it’s about to come full circle. I’m really trying to enjoy myself and have fun with everything.”
As a freshman at the state meet, Coughlin swam the 200-yard medley relay and 200 freestyle relay to help the Ramblers win the program’s first state title. She also swam the 50 freestyle, but she didn’t make the finals.
She swam the same three events at the state meet as a sophomore, making the championship finals in the 200 medley and 200 free relay. Last season, Coughlin competed in the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 free relay and 50 free. The 400 free relay placed second, the 200 free relay took third and the 200 medley finished 10th.
Saturday at Glenbrook South, Coughlin will swim the 200 medley relay 200 freestyle relay, 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle. It’s the first time she will swim two individual events at the state series.
“I used to only be focused on the 50, but my endurance is so much better this year,” she said. “I’m excited to see what I can do as an individual.”
Coughlin has a chance to join a select company of Loyola girls swimmers if she can get to the state finals in at least one event for the fourth year in a row. Olivia Andrew, a 2017 graduate and UCLA freshman, was the 13th Rambler in program history to reach that milestone.
“Cassidy’s been a very committed swimmer,” Loyola head coach Mike Hengelmann said. “She’s a great kid, a happy kid. I’m excited for her.”
Seniors Margaret Guanci and Shannon Kearney have been right there with Coughlin through the years. Both signed NLIs on Wednesday. Guanci is going to Wisconsin, and Kearney is headed to North Carolina State. Kearney was the MCAC’s swimmer of the year.
“All three are mature girls, and all of them have a great work ethic,” Hengelmann said. “They all have bought into the team concept and have experienced good success. They all like to race and get charged up for this time of the year. We are looking forward to [Saturday].”
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola