Hanging up the Towel

After years of swimming together, these seniors are ready for one last season


Chris Pose

Carlson, Jensen, Rounds cheer on teammates at 2021 Lin Mar Invitational.

Natalie Thomas, Staff Writer

The Dowling Girls Swim team has had major success over the past few years. Placing first, second, and third the past three years at state, this year’s seniors have been able to see it all. As they embark on their last year of high school swimming, three seniors shared their swimming journey. 

Mary Kate Melcher finishes her race and looks up at the time board after competing (Chris Pose)

Mary Kate Melcher (12) began swimming at Wakonda Country Club at a young age. Melcher’s elementary summers were spent waking up early to dive into a freezing pool. Most kids would oppose this, wanting to sleep in during the summer, but not Melcher. From a young age, she knew what she wanted, and nothing was going to stop her from getting it. Melcher’s story is like most others: swimming started as a side hustle in the summer but became a favorite activity.


Maggie Carlson (12) has had a unique experience with the sport. Her mother, who does not know how to swim, pressured her into the sport. At first, Carlson did not take the sport seriously until she joined the Walnut Creek YMCA and later switched to the Wellmark YMCA. Carlson became a superstar at the sport, helping her team take down reigning state champion Ames to take home the state title. The Dowling Catholic Girls Swim team had never won a championship before, but that year they made history.


“My biggest accomplishment I’ve had in swimming is being a part of the first-ever Dowling Girls Swim State Championship. That was an amazing experience. Not only was it the first-ever Dowling Girls State Championship, but we took down the defending state champions, Ames, who had won many times in previous years,” Carlson said.

The 2021 Dowling Girls Swim team photographed at a meet. (Chris Pose)


Even with huge wins, the Dowling girls face intense pressure. Swimming is a sport where time and dedication can matter more than natural talent. In order to perform at the best of their ability, these swimmers have given up countless hours of sleep; but, through the stressful hours they have formed friendships that will last forever. Reagan Jensen (12) is thankful for this experience and has found friendships that will last way beyond the pool. 


“I think having good friends during the season is nice because we are all there for each other during the stressful and hard moments throughout the season as well as the fun and exciting ones,” Jensen said. 


Like most sports teams at Dowling, the swim team is a family. Many of the girls spend most of their year together due to off season swimming. No matter what club they swim for, they’re always connected. Cassie Rounds (12) said that saying goodbye to a sport is tough, but saying goodbye to this team is like saying goodbye to a family. Dowling Swim will misses their seniors immensely but is beyond grateful for their impact on their team, and the seniors are ready to make one last mark. 


“I am super excited for our senior season! Being the leaders of the team together and getting to experience it all one last time makes me feel so happy,” Rounds said. “I am so thankful that I get to lead the team with these ladies. I know that this season is going to be amazing because I get to share it with them. I can’t believe that it is the last season that we will all be on the same team together, but I know it will be one to remember,”