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Kennedy’s ‘Team Maureen’ to Swim Sound in Memory of Maureen McAvoy ’06


Memories Flood Back as Alumnae Swim Across America

Team Maureen remembers ’06 classmate with 4th plunge this weekend

The inaugural members of Team Maureen 2009 included Kennedy Catholic alumnae Kristen Nestler ’06, Samantha Fiorentino ’07, Diana Warncke ’07, Stacey Schwenk ’08, Kim Brown ’08, Emily Krizek ’08, Kerry Coughlin ’07 and Kristen Johannes ’06.

LARCHMONT, N.Y. (July 25, 2012) – The Long Island Sound will run deep this weekend, deep into the recesses of memory as many friends and family will recall loved ones lost to cancer through their participation in Swim Across America.

For the fourth straight year, Team Maureen will be among them.  Founded by 2007 graduate Kerry Coughlin, the team lost its namesake, Maureen McAvoy ’06, to a brain tumor in 2007.  But through an annual basketball tournament and events like Swim Across America, the family and friends of Maureen continue to honor her memory and pass on her insuppressible spirit.

“As Maureen’s family, friends and former teammates grow older and move further apart geographically, Team Maureen has been such a nice way to bring all of us together…and just be reminded of what an incredible person she was and how much she meant to each of us,” said Coughlin, who is fundraising from Moldova, where she serves with the U.S. Peace Corps.

Coming together this year are 10 Kennedy Catholic alumnae—Gina ’06 and Jackie ’06 Bartolomeo, Kim Brown ’08, Kerry Coughlin ’07, Kristen Johannes ’06, Emily Krizek ’08, Kelly McAvoy ’03, Kristen Nestler ’06, Elizabeth O’Donnell ’03 and Stacey Schwenk ’08—who make up the majority of the 12-person team, along with Brian Dougherty and Ryan Sirignano of Long Island. Of the 10 graduates, four of the girls—Brown, Coughlin, Krizek and Nestler—swam with Maureen on the Kennedy Catholic team.  Sirignano will be the team’s first 4-mile swimmer, while nine others will hit the Sound around 8:30 a.m. this Saturday, July 28, at the Larchmont Yacht Club for the 1-mile event.  The Bartolomeos will be volunteering land side.

“I find this experience to be extremely rewarding,” Krizek said.  “It’s a pretty incredible feeling to know what we are doing is helping to make such a great difference in so many peoples’ lives.”

Perhaps none more than Kelly and Elizabeth, Maureen’s sister and cousin, respectively, for whom swimming was a special shared connection.  As she prepares for this weekend, Kelly said she remembers all the good times they had together in the pool and ocean.  For Elizabeth, it harkens back to her senior year at Kennedy when Maureen had just started as a freshman.

“Swimming was a natural part of our connected lives, and it continues to be,” O’Donnell said, the tears flowing as the memories deepened.  “Maureen and I were known as the water bugs in our family.  We were the first to jump in—we never took the stairs—and the last to leave.”

With a team fundraising goal of $5,000, each member has been asked to raise $500.  Team Maureen is already more than halfway to the mark.  For those wishing to do so, donations can be made online directly to Team Maureen or made out to Swim Across America and sent to one of the team members.

“I think she would be proud,” Brown, this year’s captain, said of what her former teammate might have made of the team in her name.  “I know she would do the same if the situation were reversed.  I truly believe Maureen is there, cheering each and every one of us on.”

To a person, that is a sentiment carried by the members of Team Maureen.  In fact, they all agree that Maureen is encouraging them to swim not just for her, but for all those who are sick and in need of support.  As their team page notes, while some of the members have been around the water their entire lives, others will be venturing into uncharted waters, inspired by Maureen.

“I remember Kristen Nestler saying that Maureen would think we are all a little bit silly for taking on this tough swim every year,” Coughlin said from Moldova.  “Perhaps; but I also know Maureen would be the first in the water if she were here.”

Some waters run too deep to ever dry up.


Named one of the 50-best secondary schools by the Catholic High School Honor Roll in 2005, Kennedy Catholic provides a rigorous, college-preparatory program that seeks the fullest development of mind, body and spirit.  Founded as St. Mary’s in 1924 by the Sisters of the Divine Compassion and located on 64 scenic acres in Somers, N.Y., Kennedy provides state-of-the-art technology—SMART Boards, wireless Internet, computer labs and a TV studio—that prepares today’s students for tomorrow’s world.  Home to 52 athletic teams across 17 sports and more than 25 extracurricular activities, Kennedy Catholic offers the complete high school experience.

Contact: Alex Malecki • Director of Alumni & Public Relations

W: (914) 232-5061 Ext. 134 • M: (914) 912-6930 • F: (914) 232-3416 • PR@KennedyCatholic.org



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