While the Keene State swim team is full of talented and unique athletes, few show quite the commitment and determination as senior captain Kathleen Brandeberry.
Brandeberry mainly competes in freestyle events as well as individual medley, which involves a combination of four different strokes in one event.
Much like her siblings, Brandeberry said that her parents got her into swimming at a very young age. She started swimming in the first grade, and swam mostly for YMCA teams in her younger years.
She said that while all three of her siblings did swimming at one point, she was the only one who really stuck with it. When she was thirteen, Brandeberry said she transferred to a club team for a some more competition, as well as doing a co-op with Gardener High School her freshman and senior years.
Brandeberry says she attributes her success in the water to the intense training she endures. Competing in individual medley, she said that she attends a few more practices a week than the majority of others on the team.
“Usually the extra practices are a little harder because they’re focused on the mid-distance and distance swimmers,” she said. Brandeberry said she trains around twelve times a week, 2-3 times a day. “But it’s alright, we still get Sundays off.” she laughed.
According to Brandeberry, she’s seen personal improvement this season that is consistent with previous years as well.
“I think I can come back stronger every year because I don’t swim over the summers,” she said. “I just focus on lifting and getting stronger and that definitely helps because strength is a big part of swimming.” As for the team, she said that she’s also seen a lot of improvement with her fellow swimmers as well.
Senior and fellow captain Lauren Arsenault has known Brandeberry since their first year of college, and have been good friends since. Arsenault said that while she and Brandeberry were always friends, it was a long trip to Florida for winter training that really brought them close together.
“It was a forty hour bus ride on the way down, and the bus broke down on the way back. We got stuck in a hotel with bed bugs,” laughed Arsenalt. “I think that was definitely the beginning. We were always friends, but winter training was definitely the peak.”
Arsenault also started swimming at a young age, starting with synchronized swimming in the second grade, before moving to competitive swimming in the seventh grade. She’s very experienced in the sport, and said that Brandeberry is one of the better swimmers she’s seen.
“She’s really fast,” she said. “So she definitely brings a lot of points for us. She’s kind of a natural leader. Having her as a captain by my side is really awesome in helping guide the team in what we need to do. Leading by example is definitely huge for us, so being not only being physically present but also mentally present at everything is important.”
Arsenault said that overall, the team has grown much closer since her first year, and the sense of family on the team helps them compete to their very best.
Head coach Christopher Woolridge unfortunately did not respond by the deadline for this article.
Matthew Barriga can be contacted at