For someone who didn’t join her high school swim team because she was afraid she wasn’t good enough, Meaghan McGovern turned out to be faster than the rest.
The Clarkstown North senior, who was named The Journal News/Lohud Rockland swimmer of the year, was seventh in the 200 freestyle with a personal-best time and fourth in the 500 with close to a personal-best time at the state and Federation meet.
She was fourth in the 500 and fifth in the 200 at sectionals and won both of those events at the Rockland County Championships where she was named the meet’s most outstanding swimmer for the second time.
None of the above would have happened if McGovern hadn’t conquered her fear of joining the team.
“I was scared because I thought I was too slow,” McGovern said, noting the age difference. “Maybe one of the other reasons was that there were high schoolers on it. It was something new and something I had not done before.”
So, how did she muster the courage to join the following year?
“I was jealous of all the fun my friends were having,” McGovern said. “I was playing field hockey at the time and I’d see my friends wearing the swim apparel around school. I’d hear about the cool things they were doing like going to pasta parties, getting to know the high schoolers, and going to swim meets. I knew I loved it because I was on a club team (where there are age groups). Swimming’s my love.”
She turned that love into a stellar high school career culminating with a personal-best senior year.
“I’m really happy with the way things went,” McGovern said. “I’m definitely happy with how everything went for the team. There’s always room for improvement so I’m looking forward to getting faster in college. But looking back, I had personal bests in the 200 and just off of it in the 500. So it was definitely my best high school season by far.”
McGovern, who was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, helped lead the Clarkstown combined team to another undefeated regular season (9-0) highlighted by a win over Ursuline. They won the Rockland County team championship and finished third overall at the sectional championships behind Fox Lane and three-time champion Horace Greeley. She helped Clarkstown place eighth at the state and Federation championships.
So the secret to McGovern’s success this year? The ability to solely focus on the sport she loves.
“This is my first year only being a one-sport athlete,” McGovern said. “I took last summer off after rowing crew for two years. Being a one-sport athlete really influenced it. It wasn’t just taking a step back and worrying about SATs and ACTs, it’s about not having to worry about a second sport.”
As she gets ready to compete for the Black Knights, McGovern is excited to swim at the Division I level.
“I’m super excited,” McGovern said. “If you had asked me six years ago when I was in seventh grade if I would swim in college, I probably would’ve told you no because I wasn’t fast enough. I’m going to a team where for the first time in a few years I’m not the fastest person. I guess I have my next goal — have bigger and better things to look forward to even though I’m leaving Clarkstown, which I’ll miss a lot.”
The rest of The Journal News first-team all-stars chosen with the assistance of the Rockland coaches:
Clarkstown, 200-yard medley relay: The quartet includes junior Adi Globus, sophomore Kelly Malyszka, and seniors Meaghan McGovern and Briana Keaveney.
Kelly Malyszka, So., Clarkstown, 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke
Lauren Sweet, Sr., Clarkstown, 50 freestyle
Stevie Meyerson, Jr., Suffern, diving
Megan Conway, Jr., Pearl River, 100 butterfly
Amy Zhang, Jr., Tappan Zee, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke
Clarkstown, 200 freestyle relay: The quartet includes Globus, Sweet, Malyszka, and Keaveney.
Clarkstown, 400 freestyle relay: The senior quartet includes McGovern, Sweet, Keaveney, and Shannon Farrell.
Coach of the year: Theo Tomljanovich, Clarkstown
200-yard medley relay: Tappan Zee
200 freestyle: Shannon Farrell, Clarkstown
200 individual medley: Taylor Lawson, Tappan Zee
50 freestyle: Briana Keaveney, Clarkstown
Diving: Jessica Kugelman, Tappan Zee
100 butterfly: Kelli O’Shea, Nyack
100 freestyle: Lauren Sweet, Clarkstown
500 freestyle: Samantha Liddy, Suffern
200 freestyle relay: Suffern
100 backstroke: Theresa Hutton, Albertus Magnus
100 breaststroke: Taylor Lawson, Tappan Zee
400 freestyle relay: Tappan Zee
Honorable mention: Katherine Adorable, So., Clarkstown; Mackenzie Badick, Sr., Clarkstown; Alyssa Burke, Sr., Suffern; Nicolette Capalbo, So., Suffern; Kelly Carey, Jr., Suffern; Faith Ciavarella Sr., Nyack; Julia Donovan, Fr., Clarkstown; Teresa Farrell, Sr., Clarkstown; Lauren Fernandes, Fr., Clarkstown; Rachel Fischer, Jr., Suffern; Maeve Franklin, So., Pearl River; Olivia Gilpin Sr., Nyack; Adi Globus, Jr., Clarkstown; Meghan Hartigan, Sr., Suffern; Christina Hogan, Jr., Clarkstown; Infinit Isidore, So., Suffern; Sarah Jang, So., Clarkstown; Theresa Kempter, Sr., Nyack; Jadyn Koss, So., Clarkstown; Caitlin Leary, Sr., Suffern; Genna Lederer, Sr., Tappan Zee; Hillary Levy, Sr., Clarkstown; Casey McCombs, Fr., Clarkstown; Madison McDonough, 8th, Pearl River; Melissa Medina, Sr., Clarkstown; Priscilla Medina, Fr., Clarkstown; Carly Mendelson, So., Clarkstown; Cara O’Shea, Sr., Clarkstown; Gianna Policastro, So., Clarkstown; Michaela Raphael, Tappan Zee; Alexandra Rendina, Jr., Clarkstown; Cassandra Rubino, Sr., North Rockland; Carleigh Schlissel, 7th, Suffern; Sara Schulok Sr., North Rockland; Danielle Shaw, Fr., Pearl River; Erin Sweet, Fr., Clarkstown; Sharon Tang, So., Clarkstown; Emily Zaruvinsky, Sr., Tappan Zee.
Fan-selected all-star team (Westchester, Putnam and Rockland)
Briana Keaveney, Clarkstown (leading vote-getter)
Nicole Parry, Mamaroneck (15 votes)
Stevie Meyerson, Suffern (1 vote)
Jennifer Bell, Pelham (1 vote)
Kate Douglass, Pelham (1 vote)
Sarah Dunbar, Pelham (1 vote)
Jane Bryce, Pelham (1 vote)
Madison Hartigan, Pelham (1 vote)
Sunday, Nov. 30: Boys soccer
Wednesday, Dec. 3: Field hockey
Thursday, Dec. 4: Girls swimming
Friday, Dec. 5: Volleyball
Sunday, Dec. 7: Girls soccer
Wednesday, Dec. 10: Tennis
Thursday, Dec. 11: Boys cross country
Friday, Dec. 12: Girls cross country
Sunday, Dec. 14: Football