Timeout swimming: Kate Curley has stepped into standout role for Chesterton
By Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent January 21, 2013 10:16PM
Chesterton senior swimmer Kate Curley at practice Monday Jan. 21, 2013. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 23, 2013 6:36AM
Maintaining the caliber level of not only one of the top teams in the area, but the state, isn’t easy. Especially in a season that also includes significant retooling.
But for the Chesterton girls swim team, a program with a revolving cycle of depth, it comes with the territory. And following the graduation loss of three-time state champion Olivia Kabacinski, it became more of a question as to which leaders would take charge. Even amid some adversity, senior and three-time state meet competitor Kate Curley was more than ready to be part of that movement this winter.
“Since Livi did leave we’ve had to have a lot of girls step up,” said Curley of another season of gritty performances. “I’m really thankful that I’m higher up on this team, but I’m not the only one.”
The 100 back and 200 IM swimmer, may not be the sole factor to Chesterton’s resounding 10-0 record, but given her scenario, the big swims look compelling in the big picture. Coming back after a deflating degenerative disorder in the discs of her back made for a trying 2011-12 season, but Curley hasn’t missed a beat.
“She was able to do well at the end of the year and go down and score in the state meet for us (including her portion of the third-place 400 free relay team), but she was a hurting pup,” Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said.
After rehabbing in the offseason and learning tactics to stay healthy for events, Curley is leading through example and wisdom in her final season. The schedule has seen her rise to challenge for each of the big meets on the docket. Curley contributed season highs in both individual events and helped steer the Trojans to victory downstate at the Homestead Meet and then followed up weeks later with more season bests and another win at the North Central meet (both invites are good barometers for the challenges of the upcoming postseason).
And, like some of the other veterans before her, Curley tries to be there to support the newer classes of Trojans.
“Well, you know what, I just really tried to stay positive and I’ve been working with the trainers that we have here,” Curley said. “I’ve had a really great season and I’m happy to be finishing out my high school career like this.”
Recently Curley and company claimed their share of second and third place marks to persevere and lock up the Duneland Conference Meet — she took second place in both of her events, 2:10.89 in the IM and 1:00.17 in the back. to Crown Point’s Holly Schuster. On Thursday, Chesterton will travel to Munster for an elite showdown.
With the chances of winning an individual sectional title to coincide with previous success in the relays, Curley’s enthusiasm is only getting better down the stretch. And Kinel notices the strong progress.
“To have the obstacle of having some health issues and being able to push past that it kind of tells you about her integrity and her ability to rise above,” he said.