Athlete of the Month: Mary Nichols


Angela Torricella, Editor-in-Chief

Girls Varsity Swimming has seen exponential improvement over the past few years, making it to the NYSPHSAA State Championships not once, but twice in the past three years. Led by senior Mary Nichols, four additional swimmers went up to Ithaca to compete against the best swimmers in the state. Nichols, Stella Meyerhoeffer (11), Sinceraty Alexander (10), Emily Rocco (10), and Isabella Mora-Castillo (9) qualified for the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay, as well as in individual events for the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 100 backstroke.

The girls were stoked to head to states for the second year in a row, and they did not disappoint. The 200 freestyle relay placed 17th and the 200 medley relay tied for 10th place during prelims, both qualifying for finals the next day. The top 30 finishers in prelims qualify for finals, and they are separated into 3 heats (1-10, 11-20, 21-30). The 200 medley tied for 10th place, and only the top 10 teams swim in the top final. Nichols explained, “our relay had to compete in a swim off. The two teams do the race against one on one and whoever wins gets in A final and whoever doesn’t win goes down to B final.. The race was insanely close, with Ossining getting touched out by .05 seconds.”

Alexander also qualified for finals in the 100 butterfly and Meyerhoeffer qualified for finals in the 50 freestyle. Nichols recounted, “At finals, our 200 medley finished 12th in New York State, and our 200 freestyle relay finished 16th. Alexander swam a best time in the 100 fly, breaking an 8 year-old school record in that event. Meyerhoeffer also placed 23rd overall in the 50 freestyle.”

Nichols’ swimming career has been lengthy–“I have been swimming competitively since I was 8 years old on the team the Rivertown Rays. My best events have changed over the years, however my best events currently are the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM.” She has competed an ex extremely high levels, attending meets like “the Junior Olympics, Senior Mets, and the Eastern Zone Speedo Sectionals meet.” When speaking of her high school career, Nichols said, “I was named one of the captains of my varsity team this year, and I’m very sad to have my varsity career come to an end.” But although high school is coming to a close, swimming still holds a special place in Mary’s heart. “Swimming has been a huge part of my life, and I’m so grateful for all of the memories I’ve made and the hard work that’s paid off over the years. I plan to swim in college, most likely at a Division 3 school, but I’m not exactly sure where yet.”