Kate can’t really remember a time when she wasn’t in the pool. The 16 -year-old Sandpoint High School Sophomore has spent over a decade on the swim team at the Litehouse YMCA, swimming competitively since she was 5-years-old.
Her mother, Jacinda, knew being confident in the water was important and enrolled her two daughters in swim lessons when they were young. “We live so close to the lake and the mountains, my husband and I said, ‘they’re going to learn to ski and swim’ and they just loved the water so much they never looked back…she got her first ribbon when she was 5 and now she is the MVP of the high school swim team,” Jacinda says.
Throughout the many years of her swimming experience there have been two constants, her older sister Payton, and swim team coach Mike Brosnahan who also serves at Aquatics Director at the Litehouse YMCA. “Mike has been like a member of our family for 10 years. He has been with the girls every step of the way. Mike is incredibly kind and supportive, but not afraid to tell the girls the truth,” Jacinda says. “He doesn’t sugarcoat anything,” Kate says with a laugh.
All those years on the team, Kate has built incredible relationships with her teammates at the Litehouse Y, “I’m close with a lot of different people on the team, we’ve grown up together.” In recent months her time at the pool increased after the YMCA took over operation of the Litehouse Y, when Kate began lifeguarding. “Now that I work as a lifeguard I can go behind the counter, which was pretty big for me,” Kate says jokingly, “I was never allowed behind the counter until I was staff so that’s kind of neat…this place is like a second home.”
Through all the time and energy spent in the pool, Kate has been able to grow in ways other than her swim stroke, “It’s taught me a lot. Learning how to support others…to be happy for them when they succeed, and build them up when they fall short,” Kate says.
Jacinda says she and her husband couldn’t be prouder of what Kate has accomplished both in the pool and out of it, “swimming is something they have to do on their own, it’s nothing we can do for them. They have to put in the hard work and then they see the results. That kind of effort translates to all aspects of Kate’s life, in school and in relationships with people, it all takes effort and accountability and she’s learned that while swimming on the team,” Jacinda says.
Kate’s sister, Payton, is a member of the Washington State University swim team, an experience that has influenced Kate’s future plans. “I really want to swim in college at a place where I can keep it a big part of my life, but also focus on academics and my future,” Kate says. She hopes to pursue a degree related to the STEM field or possibly architecture.
For now, Kate is keeping her eyes on the years ahead in Sandpoint and creating a lasting legacy for future swimmers on the team. “I want to set a good example, be a role model for the younger kids to be supportive and celebrate one another. That’s something that I love about our team, we are each others’ biggest fans. I want to see that grow.”
Jacinda sees the impact older girls can have on children growing up on the team, “the swim team is unique in that you have all different ages coming together when they practice and when they travel to meets. They’re never competing against each other, but always together. Being supportive…encouraging them…mentorship in and out of the pool…it’s been huge for our daughters and now it’s nice to see that continue here at the YMCA.”