By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff
Editor's Note: This question-and-answer with swimming sisters Colleen and Katie King of Barkhamsted is the first in a four-part series devoted to sibling athletes at Eastern. The second installment is a question-and-answer with lacrosse sisters Kelsea and Amy Burkhardt of Old Saybrook, and the third is with Monroe natives Drew Accomando of the baseball team and sophomore brother Dean of the lacrosse team. The final installment will be a story about the unique situation in the men's lacrosse program, which includes three sets of brothers this year: Drew and Angus Deane, Kevin and Sean Fechtmann, and Mike and Brendan Gillotti.
A junior on this past season's swimming team, Colleen King (at right in photo) is a junior three-year letterwinner who was joined this season by her freshman sister Katie. Both are high honors students, Colleen majoring in Graphic Design and Katie in Math. While they have somewhat different personalities, they are similar in the respect that they are both devoted to their family, their academics, and their teammates.
Despite nursing a shoulder injury throughout the season, Colleen posted the fastest time on the team this year in the 50 yard butterfly, while Katie set program records in the 50 and 100 breaststroke. Both were All-New England at the NEISDA Championships in February. In the 50 breaststroke at the New England meet, the two were separated by only .55 seconds and both were also members of the record-setting 200 medley relay which placed third and reaped All-New England honors.
Were you two inseparable growing up?
Colleen: I wouldn't say inseparable. We would have our fights every now and then.
Katie: We didn't start getting along until middle school. That's when we start getting closer.
Did you two share a bedroom while growing up?
Colleen: Yeah, for what, probably ten years?
Katie: We shared a bedroom (when the family lived) in Winsted, in the condo, until I was ten, so nine or ten years.
What kinds of things do you like to do together?
Katie: Shop, go to the beach, anything. We go to games here together, go eat, anything.
Colleen: If one of us is bored, we'll always call up the other one.
What kind of things do you have in common?
Katie: Our personalities, sense of humor.
Colleen: We both like to do things outdoors.
Did you both compete with each other in a lot of different things?
Colleen: Well,l I started swimming when I was seven and Kate started two years later, I think, when she was seven, and, in the most part growing up we were in different age groups, so we didn't necessarily race each other until high school.
Katie: We have never raced one-on-one until this year at New England's in the same race, the 50 breast. I got third and Colleen got fifth.
Did that make you angry that she beat you?
Colleen: No. Everyone always asks me that and it doesn't bother me at all.
In what ways would your parents or friends say you are alike or in what ways would they say you are different?
Colleen: Katie has more of an attitude than I do, more competitive, more aggressive.
Katie: I'm a lot more driven.
Colleen: Everyone says that I'm nice, that I'm too nice.
Katie: She needs a fire to be lit under her, by somebody else.
When you both were in high school or junior high, did you ever talk about maybe playing sports or at least attending the same college?
Colleen: Well, we did play the same sports. We both played volleyball in high school, and we swam together for two years, and then Kate stopped swimming for the high school.
Katie: The year she graduated. We never talked about going to the same school, it just kind of happened. I mean, she wanted to come here all along. This wasn't my top choice, but things just happened the way they did.
At right: At the season-ending awards banquet May 5, Colleen (at left in photo) received an E-Club Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award, while Katie was voted Individual Sport Rookie-of-the-Year.
Do you think that your parents wanted the two of you to go to the same college, or did they leave it entirely up to you both?
Colleen: I don't think they necessarily pushed her to go to the same school as they did me.
Katie: No, not at all.
Colleen: I mean, it was convenient
Katie: I had it in my head that I did not want to go to the same school as Colleen, because I didn't want to follow in her footsteps and be copying her. I didn't want to feel like I had already some friends made for me and stuff because that's the way it happened in high school; I would just get along with her friends, too. It wasn't ideal in my head at first, but I like it now.
What do you do to each other thats get you angry?
Colleen: Taking my stuff, that's probably the number one thing.
Katie: She wears my clothes without asking sometimes, that's pretty much it.
Who is the better all-around athlete?
Katie: Colleen was a three-sport athlete in high school, with something like 11 letters, and I swam for four years, played volleyball for four years, and I did track for a year.
Colleen: She's more focused on swimming, that's her thing.
Katie: She was better than me in volleyball and track, obviously, but I'm better at swimming, I guess.
Colleen, what do you do better than Katie?
I don't know. I have a more optimistic view on life; she gets more stressed out easily.
Katie, what do you do better than Colleen?
Plan things out probably. I think about things ahead of time, I swim better, I study harder, and that's about it.
How much contact do you have on an ordinary day at school?
Colleen: Kind of depends, like there will be days where we text each other a lot and there are times where we don't hear from each other.
Katie: When we're bored, we text each other. When she's at work, I always know when she is at work I'll have like a hundred texts rolling in. (Editor's Note: In Colleen's best interest, we will not divulge the name of her employer).
Do you have less contact when you are out of season?
Katie: Yeah, I mean I don't see her as much, I see her about once a week, rather than every day.