Rye High’s swimmer extraordinaire, Kate Chesley, is truly a wunderkind. The ninth grader, in her first year on varsity, has qualified for Sectionals in three different strokes. What’s more, she’s also swum fast enough to compete at the State meet November 17.
In nominating her for the Athlete of the Week Award, Katie Konopka, Head Coach of the Rye/Rye Neck/Rye Brook team, had this to say: “Kate deserves this award by qualifying for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championship in the 100-yard backstroke.”
She went on to say, “Kate consistently swims a difficult meet line-up in order to earn points for her team. She’s always cheering her teammates on from the sidelines. Additionally, she has qualified for the Section 1 championship meet in the 200 Individual Medley, the 100 Freestyle, and the 100 Backstroke. She is a key member of the Rye relays.”
The young Garnet gets her aquatic DNA from her dad, who swam for Lehigh. And she credits her can-do spirit to — among others — her grandmother, Susie Morison, who also lives in Rye.
Kate looked a little wistful when she said, “I would have swum on the team last year, when I was in middle school, but I didn’t know about the tryouts. So I’m just catching on.”
When she’s not in the pool, Kate is also a recreational skier and tennis player. She plays the flute in the Rye High band, and volunteers at Rye Presbyterian Church, tending to the gardens and assisting at the Food Bank. She is helping plan a carnival to raise money for the South East Consortium for Special Services, a Mamaroneck-based organization that creates unique recreation opportunities for children and adults with disabilities and special needs.
With college nearly four years away, Kate hasn’t even started to think about where she’ll apply, although she definitely wants to keep swimming competitively. As for a career, she said, “I’ve always loved marine biology. Maybe that’s why I find my Biology class, taught by Mrs. Mascia, so interesting. I also like Mrs. Jones’ Global History class.”
When asked if she had any interests her friends didn’t know about, Kate thought for a long while before answering, “Medieval times and, farther back, the Roman Empire, are two periods of history I enjoy reading and learning about.”
Kate summed up her varsity experience by saying, “I have to thank my coaches, Ms. Konopka and Alec Lessem, as well as my parents — Rob and Amanda Chesley — for this award. Even though swimming is an individual activity, the team spirit of our group of swimmers is a tight, wonderful bond. I’m so glad I have more than three years left to enjoy it.”