By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
Staff Writer
If you were standing on the pool deck at Mainland Regional High School, you’d have a hard time picking out the state’s best swimmer. She’s not 5-foot-10 with broad shoulders. In fact, she looks just like any other swimmer on the Mustangs’ roster.
Junior Katie McClintock might not display an imposing presence, but once she gets in the water it’s tough for anybody to keep up with her. She was named Swimmer of the Year for the entire state by nj.com, won a pair of Meet of Champions titles — breaking her own 200-yard IM record on both days of the event — and she set two national public school records at the Cape-Atlantic League Championships. Glory Days Magazine’s Girls Swimmer of the Year also helped lead the Mustangs to one of their best seasons ever, a 13-1 record that included their first trip to the sectional finals in seven years.

Junior Katie McClintock helped lead Mainland to a 13-1 record and also was named the state’s Swimmer of the Year by nj.com. (Glory Days photo/Dave O’Sullivan)


“She works incredibly hard and certainly has earned what she’s accomplished, and we’re all pretty fired up for her because of that. She’s just so committed to the sport in so many different ways. She works as hard as she can in and out of the water to continue to grow and improve, which is really her No. 1 goal. To see state championships as well as school, state, CAL, Hackney and South Jersey records fall is really neat. Right now we’re kind of witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime athlete in front of us,” said Mainland coach Mike Schiavo. “We knew she was talented, we knew she was committed, the question was just how fast could she get? I don’t know if I could ever have imagined the success that she’s had already in three years.”
Schiavo said that sometimes high school girls swimmers see their best times early in their careers and then begin to fade as they get older, but for McClintock it’s been the exact opposite. She just keeps getting better.
“I’ve been around long enough to know that a lot of times, especially girls, will plateau in high school, and early in high school, unfortunately. Some of the best female swimmers, sadly — and it’s kind of a tough high school reality — they just get frustrated because they’re not dropping time. Sometimes, size does have something to do with it in a lot of different ways. But on the other side of that, I’ve seen some really fast girls who are Katie’s stature. They don’t always have to be 5-foot-10. It’s a sport where height helps, but success comes in all shapes and sizes. I remember seeing a girl who was barely 5-feet and she was the fastest sprinter in the state, won the 50 and 100 free her freshman year back in the early 90s,” Schiavo said. “I’m excited that she’s been able to continue to grow, and it’s not just because of her work ethic and attitude, but what she’s been doing all these years prior to high school. The coaches out at EHT Seahawks — and her mom is one of them — they’ve had a really nice, long-term plan for her. Instead of trying to get too much out of her too soon, they brought her along nicely. She’s still growing and they are still adding things, and because of that she’s still getting faster. That puts a smile on her face, which is the No. 1 thing.”
That long-term plan includes collegiate swimming, and in February McClintock announced she has given a verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin.
“My two top choices were UNC-Chapel Hill and Wisconsin. When I visited Wisconsin, I really liked the city, and the coaches were awesome. The team was all really nice and it seemed like the best fit for me. It was a tough decision. It really came down to the fact that I felt like I had a really good connection to the Wisconsin coaches and the team. Right when I walked on campus, I pretty much knew it was a good fit for me,” McClintock said. “It’s really nice. I still have to keep my grades up, keep swimming fast and keep doing what I do, but it’s nice to have that extra stress out of the way and just have fun. The recruiting process started in June — I was obviously doing research before that — but in mid-June is when they started calling me and showing interest. I only took two recruiting trips, one to UNC in September and then in mid-October I went to Wisconsin. It was a short process, but definitely time consuming. I’m definitely happy. I totally saw myself there as soon as I walked on campus. I’m really excited.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays