By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – St. Paul Catholic High School swimming sensation Kim Hylan is a pretty versatile athlete in the pool.
And over the years, the senior has participated in several events and earned the respect of every team she squared off.
Sacred Heart University obviously took notice and wanted her part of is collegiate swimming program.
On Monday, Nov. 16, Hylan signed her National Letter of Intent in a ceremony from St. Paul Catholic High School and will swim for the Pioneers.
Hylan will make up part of the second recruiting class for Sacred Heart swimming and diving coach John Spadafina.
“I’ve always had a love for swimming,” said Hylan at the signing. “I’m so happy to have the chance at Sacred Heart to swim.”
She’s going to be quite an asset to the Pioneers’ program, whether inside and out of the pool.
For the Falcons, Hylan’s most successful events include the 200 individual medley, the 100 butterfly, the 200 freestyle, the 500 freestyle and as a member of the 200 freestyle relay and 400 free style relay teams and everything in between.
That kind of versatility is a trait every collegiate swimming team is looking for as Hylan could see action in numerous races and meets for the Pioneers.
But she started competitively swimming long before becoming a member of the swim team at St. Paul.
“I spent four years swimming here in high school,” said Hylan. “It all started when I was seven [years old] at Bristol Splash [Bristol Park and Recreation Team Bristol] and at 12, I moved on to the West Hartford Aquatic Team.”
Hylan certainly had some great role models on the Falcons’ squad she looked up to as she moved on through the ranks of the program.
Former standouts Lilly Martin and Gaby Houle excelled in the pool over the years at St. Paul and were just as successful Hylan.
She’s been a winner throughout her career with the Falcons, including coming in second in the 100 freestyle (55.68 seconds), the 200 yard freestyle (1:55.69) and made up the winning team of the 200 yard (1:43.86) and 400 freestyle relay (3:48.40) along with teammates Sarah Bowes, Martin and Houle at Naugatuck Valley League Championships as a sophomore.
She continued to get better, and faster as a junior and as a senior, Hylan was a featured performer at both the Naugatuck Valley and Class S championship meets
At the NVL Championships as a senior on Nov. 6, Hylan won the 200 freestyle once again.
Hylan’s finish of 2:01.28 was the top mark from the meet at Kennedy high school.
But there was a little more action that took place after the signing and that was at the Class S championship meet from Wesleyan University on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
The senior made a great accounting for herself as she took second place in the 100 freestyle (53:63 seconds), nabbed third place in the 200 freestyle (1:54.57), made up part of the 200 freestyle relay squad that took seventh place in 1:50.06 – making a great showing in the small class event.
Her time on the Falcons’ squad definitely helped develop her drive, abilities and success in the pool.
Hylan’s coach on the West Hartford Aquatic Team, Rob Riccobon, also crafted her love and passion for the sport.
She is grateful for all his help in the college application process that he provided as well.
“Thanks to my parents, coach Rob, and high school coach Meegan [Martin],” said Hylan.
Hylan will be joining an experienced squad from Sacred Heart that just carries one senior this season.
The Pioneers started the campaign winning one of six meets this season and that victory came against Saint Francis of Brooklyn.
Hylan plans on majoring in political science at Sacred Heart and hopes to become a lawyer.
Correspondent Catherine Boyce contributed to this story.
By MICHAEL LETENDRE