Burlington Free Press: Mullowney Sisters Shine on Saint Michael's Swim Team
For Immediate Release
February 16, 2012
Courtesy of the Burlington Free Press, Written by Harrison Antognioni
Growing up in Burlington, Eileen and Julie Mullowney began swimming on the same team as children and continued to develop their love for the sport together through high school. Now Eileen, a senior, and Julie, a sophomore, compete together on the Saint Michael's College team, where they have further honed their skills.
Eileen quickly turned her love for swimming into a successful collegiate career, taking little time to work her way into the Saint Michael's record books. As a freshman, she set six individual program records and contributed to a pair of relay records.
After missing her entire sophomore season with an elbow injury, Eileen returned to the pool last winter, winning all 20 of her regular-season races and finishing first in events at the Northeast-10 Invitational and Northeast-10 championship meets.
That dominance has continued this winter, with the senior winning three events and breaking two of her own school records at the Northeast-10 championships en route to being named the Division II national swimmer of the week earlier this month. Eileen says she has enjoyed the accolades because swimming news can sometimes be overlooked.
"It's a different experience than I was used to in high school," Eileen said. "Swimming isn't recognized much in the state of Vermont, so it's been a new experience for sure."
Eileen's success in the pool is only part her role as a member of the Saint Michael's team. She is also a team co-captain and finds excitement in rooting on her teammates, said senior co-captain, Kim Marchetti.
"She's equally as serious as a swimmer and as a teammate, and equally as supportive," Marchetti said. "She puts as much heart into her own swimming as she does into the team as a unit."
As far as her relationship with her sister, Eileen says it's improved since they became college teammates two years ago.
"We definitely get along a lot better now than we used to," Eileen said. "We still fight sometimes but we've grown really close as sisters and it's super fun swimming with her and watching her grow as a swimmer."
Julie is no longer in her older sister's shadow at Saint Michael's. At the Northeast-10 championships, she broke an 18-year-old school record in the 200-yard breaststroke. Julie's success hasn't gone unnoticed by her older sister and biggest fan.
"Last year was her first year coming in and she was kind of known as Eileen's sister, but definitely after championships last season and going into this year, she's really established herself as her own swimmer," Eileen said.
Julie said she has learned a lot about swimming from Eileen, even though they compete in different events.
"She's taught me hard work pays off," Julie said. "If you want to swim well, you have to work even when you don't want to."
As Saint Michael's gears up for the season-ending New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) Championship that starts Friday in White River Junction, head coach Eileen Hall, feels comfortable with Eileen's and Julie's relationship both in and out of the pool.
"As Eileen and Julie will both admit, Eileen is Julie's harshest critic and she never lets Julie slack off, she never lets Julie forget that she's got to do her very best, she's even sometimes harder on Julie than I am," Hall said. "But it's always in a good way, they care about each other a lot and it's evident that they do, they're always each other's biggest fan and biggest supporter."