Academy of Notre Dame swimmer Meg Gentile is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

A senior captain, Gentile was a key member of the Irish 400 free relay team that broke the school record at Easterns last winter. She also qualified for the finals in the 100 butterfly at Easterns – her third year of competing at Easterns. She also specializes in distance events such as the 500 freestyle, and in a recent meet against Baldwin School, she won four events. She received second team All-Main Line swimming honors as a junior, and next winter will swim for a Division I program at The College of the Holy Cross.

Q: You were a key member of the 400 free relay team that broke the school record at Easterns. Can you share with us your most vivid memory of that record-breaking race? What do you think was the biggest key to your success that day?-

A: Easterns is already a very exciting meet and breaking the record was so memorable. Our strong team camaraderie was a huge key to the success of the race. Although the 400 free relay is the last event of Easterns, each of us gave our full effort and went our fastest times.

Q: You’ve been part of a recent rise in the fortunes of the Notre Dame swimming team. What has been the most memorable experience of your Notre Dame swimming career?

A: The most memorable experiences I have had with Notre Dame swimming have been at National Catholics and Easterns. For being such a small team, it is always so impressive to have such good representation in the finals. We are a close group of friends, and it is always fun to share in the success of my teammates.

Q: As a senior captain, how do you feel you best displayed leadership on the Notre Dame swimming team?

A: My favorite role as captain is connecting the swimmers from each of the grades. I always ride the team bus to meets so I can bond with the younger swimmers. I have taken on several other roles as captain. In the beginning of the year, I represented the Notre Dame swim team at the school’s Open House. I enjoyed meeting prospective swimmers. I also help lead the team cheer and coordinate team events.

Q: You specialize in the butterfly and the distance events. What do you think has been the biggest key to your success in these two events?

A: Coach Quincy Hyson taught me how to side breathe in butterfly, and this is an important aspect of my stroke. Coach Chris Lear has built my endurance by creating strong practices and new training. Coach Brigit Barry is always improving my starts, turns and meet strategy.

Q: Can you walk us through a typical day, or cycle, of training?

A: Each week I practice Monday through Saturday for two hours with The Episcopal Academy Aquatic Club (EAAC). I also participate in dryland training. During holiday breaks, practices can be three hours long. A normal practice at EAAC is typically between 6,000 and 8,000 yards. In addition, I also participate in the Notre Dame swim team practices during the high school swimming season.

Q: What aspect of your swimming have you been working on the most recently?

A: I have been concentrating on my starts and turns recently. I have been particularly focusing on my underwaters off my starts and walls. I need to leave the walls faster so I am not making up time with my stroke.

Q: What pool did you first swim for? What is your favorite swimming venue, and why?

A: I first swam for Suburban Swim Club until I was 8 years old. I then joined EAAC when the program originated. EAAC is my favorite place to swim because it is a beautiful facility and my EAAC teammates are excellent training partners.

Q: Who have been your biggest swimming mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: My first swim mentors were Tom Stewart and Liz Becker – at Overbrook Golf Club. They have coached me since I was 6 years old and have continued to be instrumental in my progress in swimming. While at EAAC, I have had the support of Coach Kline, Coach Libby, Coach Hyson and Coach Lear. Each of these coaches have improved my technique and discipline throughout my years in swimming. Most recently, I have been very fortunate to have formed a strong bond with Coach Lear and Coach Hyson, who have both imparted valuable technique advice and training. With all of Brigit Barry’s success in swimming, my team and I are lucky to have such an accomplished coach.

Q: Tell us a little about your pre-meet preparation the day of a meet.

A: Before a swim meet I like to roll my muscles and visualize my races. I like to eat small portions of food such as granola bars.

Q: What (to you) has been the highlight of your swimming career outside of Academy of Notre Dame?

A: The highlight of my swimming career outside of Academy of Notre Dame is my 1,000 freestyle. I swam this event for the first time last year, and it has become one of my strongest races. I have yet to add time in this race, and this event was especially of interest to many coaches during the recruitment process.  

Q: You will be swimming next year for Holy Cross. What attracted you to Holy Cross? What other schools were in the running? What do you think you might want to major in at Holy Cross? Is there a particular career path that interests you?

A: I fell in love with Holy Cross before I even had contact with the coaches. The campus is absolutely gorgeous, the academics are strong and the student body size is exactly what I was looking for throughout my college search. When I met the coaches at Holy Cross, Coach Barry Parenteau and Coach Jeff Barlok, they were so supportive and encouraging. Prior to visiting The College of the Holy Cross, I was interested in The Catholic University of America, Trinity College, Fairfield University and Providence College. I plan on majoring in Political Science and following a career path that is related to government.

Q: Do you participate in any other extracurricular activities at Notre Dame?

A: I have always had an interest in environmental issues. I am a part of the PCS club, which stands for preservation, conservation and sustainability. I also volunteered in a service project in the Dominican Republic last summer with a focus in sustainability.

Fun facts – Meg Gentile

Favorite book: The Book Thief.

Favorite TV show: The Office.

Favorite movie: The Sixth Sense.

Favorite athlete: Natalie Coughlin.

Favorite team: “Philadelphia Eagles!”

Favorite place to visit: St. Thomas.

Favorite pre-meet meal: Pasta.

Favorite color: Blue.

Birth date: Aug. 27, 1998 in Philadelphia.

(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply