Senior Catherine Holecek is approaching the end of her swimming career at Loyola. A team captain, she competes Saturday at the Glenbrook North Sectional. The state meet is Nov. 16-17 at Evanston. At the MCAC meet, Holecek had a breakout performance, clocking a personal-best time in the 50-yard freestyle and an in-season best time in the 100 butterfly at University of Illinois-Chicago. A Lincolnshire resident, Holecek attended Daniel Wright Junior High before Loyola. Her older brother, Princeton University freshman Zach Holecek (Class of 2018), was a swimmer and water polo player for the Ramblers. She has three other siblings, one of whom is Loyola freshman Joseph Holecek.
MAROON & GOLD: To understate it, your fourth and final year has been interesting. The team had no home after the school tore down the building that housed the pool to begin construction on a new aquatics facility. How would you describe this season?
CATHERINE HOLECEK: Definitely unique. But I think we handled it really well. We stayed positive and made it work. It’s also exciting knowing that the new pool is going to be so great.
M&G: One of the places you practiced was Glenview’s North Shore Country Club, which has an outdoor pool. What was that like?
CH: It was fun, but it got so cold. We swam there until late October.
M&G: How do you explain the success you had at the conference meet? Did your training point to swimming those times?
CH: I don’t know if it was the training. Before this year, I was always nervous before that meet. This year, I wasn’t. I was looking forward to it, to seeing what I could do in one of my final meets.
M&G: When did you start swimming? Did you play other sports growing up?
CH: I was about 8 years old. I swam in the summers in my neighorhood. I loved being in the water. I then joined a club team in Lake Forest. The older I got, the more committed I was to it. I played soccer and basketball, but I was not very good. I don’t have great hand or foot coordination, so I didn’t last long in those sports.
M&G: You will be fully rested for the sectional meet Saturday. Are you excited to see what you can do?
CH: I am. Physically, I feel so much better than I did before conference. I know there’s room for me to improve.
M&G: What is one of your favorite memories swimming at Loyola?
CH: My main highlight was freshman year when I swam with the older girls. They were so talented and so supportive. They motivated me to become a better swimmer. I’ve tried to be a role model to the younger girls this year.
M&G: What is something you enjoy outside of swimming?
CH: I like to read. It’s a secret hobby of mine. I enjoy Jane Austen novels. I’m a pretty reflective person, and I’m always thinking. Reading relaxes me.
M&G: Given the popularity and success of Loyola’s football team, what’s it like having John Holecek, the program’s head coach, as your uncle?
CH: It’s not as big of a deal as I thought it would be when I got to high school. Some people think he’s my dad. That’s kind of funny.