Favorite athlete: Maya Dirado, USA Olympic Swim Team
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: This year’s meet against CB South.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: My goggles breaking right before the 200 IM at Districts my freshman year.
Music on mobile device: Anything except rap
Future plans: I plan to attend college and major in Nursing. I hope to study abroad in college and participate in community service.
Words to live by: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” –J.K. Rowling
One goal before turning 30: Professionally, I would like to obtain an advanced degree in nursing to become either a Nurse Practitioner or a Nurse Anesthetist.
One thing people don't know about me: I have lived overseas in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Singapore.
By Craig Ostroff
When Central Bucks East girls’ swimming coach Tom Kane talks about senior captain Caroline Cassidy, one word comes to mind.
That might not necessarily seem to be the most impressive compliment a coach can pay a student-athlete. But as Kane expounds upon his reasoning, it becomes abundantly clear that “reliable” is meant as high praise indeed.
“No matter what the situation, Caroline is always there and is always a presence we can count on,” Kane said. “She’s a four-year letter-winner and she’s missed maybe three practices in all of her four years. She’s the first one on deck every morning. She’s won our Most Dedicated Award, our Team Spirit Award.
“In the pool, she plugs away all season and works hard to get where she wants to be. She specializes in the 100 fly and the 200 IM, which are two events that sometimes kids don’t want to swim, but she does, and it’s wonderful to know you can set up a lineup and she can get you valuable points in those events.”
For Cassidy, it’s easy to be that steady presence when you simply cherish every minute you spend with your team.
Well … maybe not every minute.
“I really enjoy being with this team,” Cassidy said. “I mean, I don’t enjoy 5 a.m. practice all that often, but I enjoy being with my teammates. I love, love, love my team, I love TK (Kane) and Coach Walsh. They all make it an enjoyable atmosphere to be in.”
Cassidy’s love for her coaches and teammates is returned in kind. Her efforts both in the pool and out led to her being named one of the team’s three captains. It’s an honor that Cassidy was excited to take on, and one she had been building toward during her previous three years as a varsity swimmer for East.
“Being named captain means a lot to me, and it’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “I have two really great people Lauren Miller and Steph Chell with me. It was definitely a goal, I felt like I could be a good captain, but our whole senior class could have been voted captain. There are people who are not officially captains who do a lot and are always there. Even if I wasn’t voted a captain, I hope I would have still had that presence.
“I remember all the captains my other three years, how much it meant to me when they invited the team over to their houses or got everyone together to go out to dinner after meets. Even the little things like cheering for people, I remember how much it meant to me as a freshman. I definitely took what I had seen before me and tried to model that.”
There’s little doubt that she’s been successful.
“Caroline has done a phenomenal job as a captain,” Kane said. “I couldn’t ask anything more of a kid. She always steps up to the plate. She leads by example, but she’s also very enthusiastic on the deck. She knows what other kids on the team are doing, and when another kid pops a good time, she’s always there to congratulate them. She’s been a joy to coach and watch her grow these last four years.”
During meets, Cassidy has the opportunity to lead both by example and by cheering on her teammates. She swims in three races early in the meet—the medley relay, followed two races later by the 200 IM, and then the 100 fly shortly thereafter. It requires an extreme amount of focus and drive to take on three swims so early in the meet. But as the meet rolls on, Cassidy gets the opportunity to do what she loves most – supporting on her teammates.
“After the 100 fly I’m usually only in the free relay so I get into my teammates’ events,” she said. “I love counting for the 500, it’s one of my favorite things to do.
“I tend to be a pretty loud person. I like cheering, screaming for my teammates. If I haven’t lost my voice by the end of a big meet, it hasn’t been a successful meet.”
As the swim season winds down and leagues and districts loom, Cassidy is hoping to help lead the Patriots to postseason success. Her primary goals are to see the team “do the best we can, whether that means making it to states, or doing really well at districts or leagues, I want to see everyone improve and have fun.”
As for herself, qualifying for her fourth District One Championship meet would certainly be nice, as would breaking the 1-minute mark in the 100 fly. Her current personal best is a low 1:01.
“If I’m able to break 1 minute, l go out a happy camper,” she said with a laugh.
Out of the pool, Cassidy remains focused and steady in her efforts. Her senior year courseload includes three Advanced Placement and three Honors-level classes. She serves as Secretary of the Class Council, the senior class committee that plans class events such as prom and holds class fundraising projects. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society.
She is also very involved in the National Charity League, a mother-daughter organization that focuses on leadership and community involvement. The group joined with CB Cares Educational Foundation for the 15th Annual MLK Day of Service ceremony. Cassidy was selected to speak about community service at the event, held at the Second Baptist Church of Doylestown.
“It was a really nice event,” Cassidy said. “There were tons of people there, lots of speakers who were really motivating and powerful, and we made blankets and packed food to benefit the local community.”
For Cassidy, community service is a calling.
“I really enjoy helping people,” she said. “I think helping people is one of the most important things I can do with my life and my time. It’s really important to me, and having an outlet like NCL to do it makes it really easy to help and I can spread myself out and do a lot of different things that benefit a lot of people.”
With a passion for helping others, it’s no surprise that Cassidy is considering a career in nursing. While she hasn’t decided on college yet, she said she’s narrowed her list of potential schools to three.
Cassidy said that while she loves Central Bucks East, she definitely feels she is ready to move on and face the challenges that college will hold. However, leaving high school with also likely signify the end of Cassidy’s competitive swimming career.
“I’m really going to miss swimming. It’s been a large part of my life since I was 7 or 8,” she said. “After high school, I’m likely just going to be swimming for fun on a club team or rec league. I’m going to miss it, I’m going to miss East swimming in particular because I love my team so much. But realistically, with a major like nursing and the schools want to go to, I’m just not going to be able to commit the time needed to swim at the college level.”
When Cassidy moves on, she will leave a large hole for the Patriots to fill.
“We’re going to lose an example of dedication and an exemplar of support,” Kane said. “At the end of every set in practice, Caroline is the first to make sure everyone in her lane gets a high five for completing it. She learned from other strong leaders on the team in the past, and she used it to be a great leader herself. We’re going to lose a benchmark, a perfect example for what we want out of an athlete – be there every day, give it your best, and work hard for the team and for your personal goals. She’s been an exemplar for that mindset and I think wherever she goes to college, they’re going to get a student who is dedicated to learning from her experiences and being excellent.”
And when Central Bucks East swimming moves on next year, how would Cassidy like them to remember her and the rest of the Class of 2018?
“I hope they remember that we had fun,” she said. “I hope they remember that we were a happy team, that we supported everybody. I hope I leave a legacy of including everyone and trying to always make it a super-fun atmosphere. And I hope that continues when I’m gone. And I think it will.”