ND Women's Swimming: Holden savors final season
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 02:01
A senior capping off a storied career. An athlete crushing the competition since freshmen year. Winning accolades every step of the way, and now looking to carry the team to a championship. For Kim Holden, these storylines sound all too familiar..
Holden, a native of Mount Kisco, N.Y., has made a name for herself since stepping on campus back in 2009. As a freshmen, she burst onto the scene with four Big East titles and six all-Big East honors, and followed that up with a trip to the NCAA National Championships her sophomore year. Despite a shoulder injury that forced her to miss all but two meets her junior year, Holden set personal bests in all four of her events at last year’s Big East Championship, placing third and setting a Notre Dame record in the 100-yard backstroke while also finishing third in the 100-yard fly.
Holden’s senior campaign has gotten off to a fast start, as the swimmer set a Rolfs Aquatic Center record in last week’s Shamrock Invitational.
“It has been a really good season,” Holden said. “Weird season last year with my injury, it kept me out till February, so I had a very short season, but I trained through the summer to get healthy and stronger. I’ve been very happy with my season so far, and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.”
Part of Holden’s summer training included a trip to Omaha, Neb., where she and three of her teammates swam for a spot on the U.S. National Team at the Olympic Trials.
“It was just an awesome experience,” Holden said. “It’s definitely one of those memories that will not easily be forgotten. The venue was amazing; it was the most people I’ve ever seen at a swim meet. It was awesome just swimming next to Olympians and some of the fastest swimmers in the world.”
While Holden did not qualify for London, she still believes the experience had a positive impact on her as a swimmer and has helped her this season.
“From the training perspective, trials was a major motivator to stay in shape all summer,” Holden said. “Also, being in a big pressure situation like that, with everyone watching, definitely teaches you to control your emotions and focus, which obviously prepares you well for other meets.”
With the regular season winding down, one of the meets Holden knows she is well prepared for is the Big East Championship.
“I’ve had that date circled on my calendar for awhile now,” Holden said. “At practice we’re counting down the days. Everyday our coach gives us a list of our workout for the day and in the corner is the number of days till the Big East Championship.”
Individually, Holden has done quite well at this meet in the past, winning seven Big East titles and finishing third twice. Despite her individual victories, she credits her success to the team.
“The team atmosphere is really what brings out my best performance,” Holden said. “That’s the meet where our whole team is rested and ready to swim the best races of our lives. It’s really exciting to be in that atmosphere, and its fun to see friends and family and be there with the team.”
Since she is a senior, Holden knows her Notre Dame career is winding down and expects to be emotional.
“To be honest, it hasn’t quite hit me yet,” Holden said.“It probably will at IUPUI [the site of Big East Championships] and at NCAAs, but right now it’s just the status quo since were all working pretty hard.
“But at the meets it’s going to be emotional knowing it could be the last time I’m swimming that event, when I have been swimming for the past 12 years.”
With a stellar career behind her, Holden said she has pondered her legacy.
“It’s definitely something you think about,” Holden said. “At the [Shamrock Invitational], I broke a pool record, so it’s nice to know you have made an impact, and hopefully I will continue to do that at the conference meet and the NCAAs.”
To prepare for her life beyond swimming, Holden has applied to several graduate schools to pursue a doctor of audiology program, as she plans to help people with hearing and balance disorders.
If Holden’s past is any indication, her future accomplishments look to be just as noteworthy, even as they occur outside the pool.
Contact Alex Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org