For Kate Bailey, her time to receive deserved recognition as a standout high-school swimmer in Arlington came this season in her final senior campaign.
During past winter years, Bailey and other top local swimmers performed in the shadow of 2022 Yorktown High School graduate and Summer Olympian Torri Huske. With Huske now swimming in college at Stanford University, Bailey’s accomplishments this winter drew more attention.
The Bishop O’Connell High School swimmer broke the team record three times during the recently-completed season in the girls 100 butterfly, with the lowest at 54.06. She did not lose any butterfly race.
Bailey won numerous other individual events and swam on winning or high-placing relays. She was named the Most Valuable Swimmer of two big meets, and helped O’Connell win National Catholic and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference meet championships and place fourth in the state private-school meet.
The team captain was O’Connell’s top scorer in those meets.
“It was a fantastic senior season,” said Bailey, who will swim in college for the University of Pittsburgh and take classes in the medical field. “We didn’t have a season last year because of COVID. That was so disappointing,” she said. “That made this season much more fun and exciting for everyone on the team, and we won two big meets. That was a goal.”
Bailey swims and competes in non-high-school meets year round for the Arlington Aquatic Club. That’s where she trained and swam side-by-side for a number of years with Huske.
“It was amazing watching, practicing and learning so much from her,” Bailey said.
This coming summer, Bailey will swim her final season with the Division I Overlee Flying Fish of the Northern Virginia Swimming League. She began her swimming career at age 6 at Overlee.
She would like to conclude her local swimming career by setting some Overlee team records this summer.
“I’m going to miss swimming for Overlee so much,” Bailey said. “I’m so grateful I got to swim there.”
Bailey’s coach at O’Connell this season was Beth Baker, who also has been an Overlee coach in different capacities during Bailey’s time with the team. So she has watched the swimmer develop from a young age.
“Kate is very mindful of what she is doing, and she has a great feel for the water and a great body type for swimming, and she wants to do well,” Baker said.
The coach said Bailey’s butterfly records at O’Connell are significant, because the school has produced so many top female swimmers.
Bailey’s specialty race has become the butterfly. She won the 100 fly at the state meet in that time of 54.06. In previous meets as a senior, Bailey’s times in the fly were 55.02 and 54.31. She earned Automatic All-American status for her performances in that event.
Bailey’s original team record in the butterfly was 58.45, set in 2020.