Helena High’s Kate Murphy has committed to swim for the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, which will be pooling its inaugural women’s team for the 2016-17 season. Mary is an NCAA Division II college, competing in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Murphy, a four-year All-Stater — and the IR’s 2016 Swimmer of the Year — helped Helena to the 2013 State AA championship as a freshman. She went on to compile 12 All-State medals: Seven for individual races, and five as a member of the relays.
“I chose Mary because it’s a great smaller school with good connections, and it’s a great fit for me personally and academically,” said Murphy, who plans on majoring in biology, with a minor in chemistry and psychology. “And I feel it will provide a solid foundation in my education to set me up for medical school.”
Kate, whose parents are Jim and Vickie Murphy, will graduate as a valedictorian this spring with a 4.0 GPA. Her scholarships at Mary consist of $10,000 for athletics and $8,500 for academics, annually.
At her final State meet in Great Falls this February, she posted a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke, and placed fifth in the 100 freestyle. Murphy was also part of HHS’ third-place 400 free relay, and fourth-place 200 free relay.
The Lady Bengals just missed this past season’s third-place trophy, edged by a mere half point.
The versatile 5-foot-9 Murphy, who also participates in ballet, said she had not heard of the University of Mary until their swim coach, Allan McCallum, contacted her.
“Coach McCallum even drove to Helena to have lunch with my parents and I,” she said. “I feel he truly cares about my wellness as a person, more than just a swimmer. Competing (on their) first women’s swim team is a real honor. I look forward to the strong team dynamic, and am very excited to be a part of a new tradition.”