- Published on Wednesday, 09 January 2013 13:31
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Whether she enters the water or excels in the classroom, Kathleen Lyon has always given 100%.
Currently, Lyon, a senior at St. Francis University, is training in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. for the upcoming Northeast Conference Swim Championships at MIT, in Boston, Mass., on Feb. 27 - March 2. The St. Francis Red Flash women’s swim team hopes to win its fourth title in 2013. The Red Flash were picked by the league’s head coaches in the pre-season poll to win the championship.
Key to victory is preparation and training. Every day, the Red Flash push their physical abilities to the limit in two 8,000-yard practices, with the realization that it will take a team effort to repeat as champions.
Lyon and her teammates realize that repeating last year’s championship will be a daunting feat—especially since the Red Flash won by one point over rival Central Connecticut in the final relay event. In light of the fact that St. Francis does not have a diving team, they have to make up points earned in individual events.
As a team, the Red Flash are academically solid. During the 2012 spring semester, the team collectively had a 3.50 GPA, and achieved the ranking of 18th in the country among NCAA Division I women’s swimming & diving programs.
Throughout her athletic career, Lyon has excelled in collegiate and high school sports.
Her collegiate accomplishments include: junior: 2011-12: 2:07.82 in the 200-yard butterfly, ranked third all-time at SFU; sophomore, third fastest time for the 200-meter butterfly (2:07.93), set at 2010-11 NEC Championship meet; appearance on top 10 times in SFU history in 100-yard butterfly; freshman: records in 500, 1,000, and 1,650 yard events; achieved her highest NEC finish (2nd) 1,650 yard freestyle; holds top 10 times in the 200 yard butterfly (2nd) and 400 yard IM (7th); member of the SFU 800 yard freestyle relay (silver at NEC Championships).
Red Flash women’s head swim coach Pat Gallagher has witnessed Lyon’s contributions to the SFU women’s swim team throughout her collegiate career. “Since coming into the program as a freshman, Kathleen has modeled the idea “our program thrives on, the right way to get better is through work,” Gallagher said. “ Kathleen is one of the hardest workers on the team, and has been that way since she arrived. Her teammates look up to her ability to come in day after day, regardless of how she feels, and work to get better.”
Lyon’s legacy at her alma mater, King George High School is legendary. Her high school accomplishments included team records in 500, 1,000, and 1,650 yard freestyle events. She broke Battlefield District record in the 500 yard freestyle, and took third place in the same event during the state championship; swam individual medley, butterfly in the state championship and was a three-year letter winner, honor roll, and Coaches Award winner.
However, her accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of her parents, coaches, friends and community. “I would like to thank my parents, who have been a tremendous support, dedicating most of their time and energy to my goals,” Lyon said. “In addition, I would like to thank my close friend, and long-time boyfriend Joe, who has stood by me, and my arduous practice, and meet schedules. Also, I want to thank my coaches, both past and present. Without their coaching, and guidance, I would not have been able to be a part of this winning team at St. Francis.”
After graduation, Lyon plans to continue working for a local veterinarian, with the focus of attaining her veterinary technician certification. She aspires to train animals as a support for wounded veterans, law enforcement, and the military.
During the spring of 2012, she completed an internship at a local riding academy in Pennsylvania, while working closely with a veterinarian who was challenged with post-traumatic stress disorder, and a traumatic head injury. “Just knowing that the time spent riding, while building his confidence was instrumental in some small way to his overall well being, and continued progression towards healing has helped me identify my future goals,” Lyon said.