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A family of swimmers

By Bill Kiser
Correspondent

While Kristie Darmody may be one of the youngest members of Providence High’s swim team, that doesn’t mean she’s inexperienced.

On the contrary. Darmody has been one of the Panthers’ top swimmers this season, and is a strong candidate to advance at Saturday’s 4A West Regional championships at Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics.

“I love the water, and obviously I’ve had some great role models through swimming,” said Darmody, who will swim in the 200- and 500-meter freestyle, and the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relay Saturday.

Her role models have been her siblings, all whom won state championships at Providence.

Older sister Kellie Darmody, now in her final year at the U.S. Naval Academy, won four relay titles as the Panthers won two of their nine state team championships, the last coming in 2007.

Oldest brother Kip Darmody, now a sophomore at Texas, has been the most successful swimmer of the family. He won four individual state championships and has two relay titles. He also holds the N.C. 4A record in the 100-meter backstroke, and was the state meet’s co-most valuable swimmer in 2011.

Kyle Darmody, a senior at Providence who has signed with Auburn, has a state individual title (the 50-meter freestyle in 2010) and teamed with Kip to set state records in the 200-meter medley relay in 2010 and the 200 freestyle relay in 2011.

Now there’s 15-year-old Kristie, whose motivation to enter the pool began with her brothers and sisters.

“I saw those blue ribbons from when they swam in summer league, and I wanted that,” Kristie said.

Kristie’s first taste of competitive swimming came in the Mecklenburg Aquatic Club’s junior swim league program. She then quickly progressed to MAC’s year-round training program, where she still works out twice a week.

“She’s really, really good,” Providence swim coach Sandy Martin said. “All of the Darmodys have always been our standouts, even as freshmen. Right now, she’s focusing on distance (events), but we could plug her in anywhere and she’d do well.”

The 4A West Regional, which will send the top eight finishers in each event to next week’s state championships in Cary, is one of three regionals being held at the Huntersville facility this weekend.

The 1A/2A and 3A West Regional diving will be held Friday morning, with the 3A West Regional swim events and the 4A West Regional girls diving that afternoon.

On Saturday, the 3A West Regional swim events and 4A West Regional boys’ diving will be held that morning, with the 4A West Regional swim events in the afternoon.

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