SOMERS, N.Y. – Ten graduates of Somers’ Kennedy Catholic High School will swim in Saturday’s Swim Across America event at the Larchmont Yacht Club.
Together with two friends, the alums will make up the 12-person “Team Maureen,” in memory of their Kennedy classmate and friend, Maureen McAvoy, Class of ’06, who succumbed to a brain tumor in 2007.
Swim Across America is a nationwide fundraising program to benefit cancer research. Eight sites in Westchester host the swim on various dates. Participants swim set distances to earn money donated by sponsors.
The Kennedy alumnae include Kelly McAvoy and Elizabeth O’Donnell, Class of '03, Kristen Johannes, Kristen Nestler and Gina and Jackie Bartolomeo, Class of ’06, Kerry Coughlin, Class of ’07, and Kim Brown, Emily Krizek and Stacey Schwenk, Class of ’08. The non-alumni team members are Brian Doughtery and Ryan Sirignano.
Sirignano will be taking on the 4-mile challenge, the rest of the swimmers will do the 1-mile course. The event has unique significance for Brown, Coughlin, Kritzek and Nestler, who swam with Maureen McAvoy on the Kennedy Catholic swim team.
Maureen’s sister, Kelly, participating along with a McAvoy cousin, Elizabeth O’Donnell, recalled the happy childhood days the three girls had together in the pool and at the beach.
“Swimming was a natural part of our connected lives,” said O’Donnell, “and it continues to be. Maureen and I were known as the water bugs. We were the first to jump in and the last to leave.”
Team Maureen was founded four years ago by Kerry Coughlin, who is working with the U. S. Peace Corps in Moldova.
“It brings us all together,” she said, “and it reminds us of what an incredible person Maureen was and how much she meant to each of us.”
Team Maureen has set a fund-raising goal of $5,000. Donations can be made online at TeamMaureen or to team members directly.