The path to Keene State College wasn’t one that identical twins Olivia and Madison Pechulis expected, but they’re both here and ready to make their impact on the women’s swim and dive team.
Hailing from Bristol, Connecticut, the Pechulis twins have always been supportive of one another, whether it’s athletics or any other aspect of life. While a little friendly competition is always good, Olivia said that the competition between the two first-year students is generally limited.
“We swim different events, so it’s not a ton of competition, but in practice we definitely push each other,” Olivia said.
“In practice, we were always swimming on top of each other’s feet, making each other swim faster,” Olivia added.
Madison explained how they can be crucial to one another’s success, saying that they have been pushing each other all of their lives and they’re “each other’s biggest competitors.”
Olivia and Madison’s mother Marla Pechulis agreed with her daughters and added that things have always been even.
“They’ve always supported one another and have been very, very close competition-wise with everything academic and in swimming,” Marla said. “It’s always been pretty even all the way through.”
While Olivia and Madison are ready to get going with their swim season at KSC, the idea of them attending the same school wasn’t the original plan. When asked if going to the same school was always their desire, both Olivia and Madison answered with a simultaneous, “no.”
“We didn’t really want to,” Olivia said.
Madison added how they intended for things to go and said, “We wanted to go in the same area, but different schools because we didn’t want to be together all the time.”
Madison also said that the idea of them both being able to swim at KSC is what drew them to commit.
Assistant Swim and Dive Coach Diana Pimer is excited about having Olivia and Madison on board. “Once we met them, we wanted both of them for sure,” Pimer said. “They’re both very positive and work super hard.”
Pimer said that when working with them during strength and conditioning, she can see the motivation and effort they’re putting in because they’re together.
“It is clear that when they’re together they’re working a lot harder,” Pimer said. “I am definitely excited to see that come out at practice.”
Olivia and Madison made the decision not to be roommates, but do hang out with the same group of people according to Madison. This allows them to get some time apart, but still maintain a close relationship.
“We split up during the day and then at night we’re like ‘let’s go get food’ or something, so it works out,” Olivia said.
Marla said her daughters shouldn’t have any problems adjusting, as they are both strong. Marla also said that the twins are comfortable with the KSC coaching staff of Pimer and Head Coach Chris Woolridge. Woolridge graduated from KSC in 2004 and Pimer in 2015.
Marla added that she thinks it’s great that Madison and Olivia are at the same school. “We were a little unsure of what was going to happen,” Marla said, “but the transition seems to be going easier than we thought it would be.”
The adjustment period for first-years who are coming in can be difficult, especially as a student-athlete. However Marla is confident that Olivia and Madison are capable of handling the challenge.
They’ve certainly had a busy life up until now, but they’ve got great focus,” Marla said. She added, “We’ve raised them saying that you can have it all.”
Crae Messer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org