Larchmont Swimmer is Sole MHS Athlete With A Chance at States

by Judy Silberstein

(November 20, 2008) Although a number of Mamaroneck High School athletes and teams headed into post season play with a chance to go all the way to the state championship level, there is now only one surviving athlete within striking distance -- or make that splashing distance. (See: Girls on MHS Teams Excel in Season, Head To Sectional Play.)

Kelly Johanson, a sophomore who has been competing at the high school level since 7th grade, was at sectionals with the Mamaroneck team on November 10. In the 400 yard freestyle, Kelly along with Megan McGuire, Anaelle Steinman and MaryGail DiBuono came in 15th out of 36 teams.

Mamaroneck High School's Kelly Johansson will compete at the state level. Photo by Fred Levine.

Kelly then went on to nail both of her individual events, the 200 and 500 yard freestyle. Undefeated all season in these events, she also swam fast enough to qualify as a High School All-American in the 500.

This is big,” said Cathleen Ferguson, a phys ed teacher at the Hommocks and the coach of the Mamaroneck girls’ swim team. “In trials, she was 6 seconds faster than the next competitor.“ Kellys’ time qualified her for All-American Consideration in the 200, as well.

coach and swimmer
Kelly Johanson (r) and Coach Cathleen Ferguson

On November 20, Kelly travels to Buffalo, where she’ll have to requalify by coming in the top 8 during trials to reach the state finals, and “where she is expected to do well,” said Ms. Ferguson.

“We’re a very young team,” said the coach. The last time MHS sent a swimmer to States was four years ago (when Kaitlyn Ferguson, the coach’s daughter, won a state championship). Last year, the team graduated 11 seniors. (See: Undefeated Mamaroneck Girls Team Sends Three Swimmers to State Championship.) “So for the relay team to come back for the finals, it was really good,” said Ms. Ferguson.

Kelly is also a very young swimmer. She just turned 15 last week. However, she’s been swimming varsity since 7th grade, when the coach selected her as the only swimmer in her grade to bring up to the high school.

“She works very, very hard,” said Ms. Ferguson. “She’s very intense when she practices – and she’s a good team player.”