MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – With two years of college complete and a lifetime of swimming memories, it would have been easy for Mount Kisco’s Kim Holden to end her competitive career when physicians told her both shoulders would need surgery.
Holden, who graduates from Notre Dame this weekend, did not turn in her towel. In March, she finished off her career spectacular fashion with honorable mention All-America performances in the NCAA championships. She also helped the Irish finish second in The Big East and 16th overall in the NCAA championships. It was Notre Dame’s best finish ever in the NCAA meet.
Less than two years ago, the Fox Lane High graduate was uncertain she would be a factor for the team. She tore the labrum in both shoulders through overuse, and had surgery in the summer of 2011. Doctors repaired her left shoulder first, and five weeks later repaired her right shoulder. She then started a lengthy rehabilitation.
“When I got the news that both shoulders required surgery, I was worried that maybe I couldn’t get to the level that I was once at,’’ Holden said. “I didn’t think about stopping altogether. I just took it one day at a time and spent a lot of time staying active with the lower half of my body. I thought about red-shirting for a year, but I really wanted to stay with my class.”
Holden performed well enough in her junior season to earn a berth in last summer’s U.S. Olympic trials in the butterfly and backstroke. That helped set the stage for this year. Holden captured the 100 backstroke at the Big East championships, the third time she won the event. She was also on two relays that won Big East championships. She ended her career with 11 Big East titles in either individual or relay events.
“Being part of the 400 medley relay (13th at the NCAAs) was really special,’’ Holden said. “It’s something I’ve been on since my freshman year. They’re a hard-working group of girls and that was a good way to close it out for us.”
Holden decided on Notre Dame for its academic and athletic balance. She and five other seniors also helped bring the program back to national prominence.
“We picked it up quickly that if we worked together, we could put Notre Dame back on the map,’’ Holden said. “We wanted to see what we could do to get our program noticed.”
While her college swim career has come to a close, Holden is anxious to begin a new academic chapter. She received at $7,500 postgraduate scholarship from the NCAA. She also received a $2,000 postgraduate scholarship from the Big East.
She will attend the University of North Carolina in Chapel, Hill, N.C. to begin a four-year program to obtain her doctorate in audiology. She will graduate from Notre Dame with a degree in psychology and a supplementary degree in Spanish.
“I spoke to my advisor about communication disorders and always had an interest in language,’’ Holden said. “I thought this would be a good field for me. It’s something that’s very connected with psychology.”
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