RYE, N.Y. – Seventeen-year-old Olivia Jackson and 15-year-old Megan Gallagher faced off in the pool several times Thursday on the final day of the Westchester County Swim Conference Championships at Westchester Country Club in Rye.
Jackson, who swims for Shenorock Shore Club in Rye, finished first and Gallagher second in both the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke events. Jackson swam a time of 59.07 seconds in the backstroke, which broke her meet record of 59.30 seconds set last year.
Gallagher is one of the youngest swimmers in her age bracket and said she was happy to earn second place, especially because of her age. She also said she swam as well as she expected to swim, considering her opponent.
“She’s amazing, so fast. I knew coming into it that she was most likely going to beat me, so I didn’t really expect much,” Gallagher said. “I was just going to try to keep up with her. So I tried my best and I’m happy with second place because that’s pretty good.”
Gallagher, an Irvington native who swims for Ardsley Country Club and Irvington High School, had nothing but respect for her opponent.
“It’s her last year so she deserves to get first place,” Gallagher said.
Seventeen is the maximum allowable age for the conference championships, and Jackson will be 18 when the event rolls around next summer. When she heard what Gallagher said, she was moved and returned that respect in kind.
“Obviously, it’s really touching, and her coming in as a 15-year-old was obviously a little nerve wracking because she’s definitely right in there with me,” Jackson said. “She gave me a good race and I’m sure she’ll take down my record next year.”
Jackson lives in Darien, Conn., but still swims for Shenorock Shore Club in Rye. She grew up in New York and her family moved when she was 8 years old, but she kept her membership because the club is just 20 minutes from their home.