At Wilson High School, names such as Chris Cheeks, Kenneth James, Pat Keegan, Tommy Thompson, and Olatide Ogunfundimitimi, are synonomous with athletic excellence.
And now, add the name of swimmer Courtney Fahy to this list of athletic stars.
As a senior co-captain of the girls swim team, nicknamed the Tigersharks, Fahy is rewriting the Wilson and Interhigh record book.
During her career, she has amassed Interhigh records in the 100-meter, 100-yard and 200-meter freestyles, and was also a member of the record-breaking 400-meter freestyle relay team as a sophomore.
"She ranks among the top female swimmers in the area, and definitely is the best in the Interhigh," said Kelvin (Cookie) Jones, Wilson's swimming coach. "She is an excellent all-around swimmer with strong strokes," said Jones. "In other words, she is awesome."
This season, Fahy will swim the 100- and 200-meter freestyle, the 100 butterfly, the 200 individual medley, and anchor the 400 freestyle for Wilson.
"Of all of the events, my favorite race is the 200 individual medley," said Fahy. "I enjoy swimming the different variety of strokes." The 200 individual medley consists of two lengths each of the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle strokes in that order.
She first learned to swim at the age of 5 and five years later she began swimming competitively, at the Jelleff pool on Wisconsin Avenue.
The next fall, she swam for an AAU team that practiced in the American University pool. She switched over to another AAU team -- the Capital Seadevils -- at the Capitol East Natorium on Capitol Hill. She practiced from 5:30 to 7 a.m. each morning before school for five years.
"Swimming that early in the morning each day kind of tired me out but I didn't realize it until after I had gotten out of the water," says Fahy.
And now after seven years of competitive swimming she has become one of the top performers in the area at the high school level.
"She is also a hard worker in practice," says Jones. "She goes out with the determination to beat out everyone in practice on the team, including her coach, who doesn't like to get beat by someone 10 years younger."
And Fahy performs well under pressure. For example, she saved her best performance for last year's Interhigh championships in which she broke the 200-meter freestyle record set by Wilson's Mary Dore in 1981, besting it by almost two seconds.
Fahy was also victorious in the 100-meter butterfly and anchored the winning 400-meter freestyle relay team. She was voted the female MVP of the championships.
"I don't exactly pattern myself after any particular swimmer," said Fahy. "I have my own style."
Fahy's strategy for each race depends on the event and the competition. "During the middle-distance races, I try to concentrate on my strokes and to keep my speed even. My pace depends on the competition. A lot of people can maintain their speed for the first four laps but don't have anything left for the rest of the race. My kick at the end of the race is one of my strong points."
She also finds relay races exciting. "In the relays you can see how the team is doing and when your turn comes you know what you have to do to maintain the lead or close the gap on someone."
Not only has she earned the respect of opponents and coaches, but she has also earned the respect of her teammates. For the last two years Fahy has been named girls team MVP and this winter she serves as team captain
"Over my career, I have progressed more mentally than physically," said Fahy. "I look at swimming as more of a team effort. You are swimming for the team not only for yourself. How you swim can determine if your team wins the meet."
To have Wilson repeat as Interhigh swimming champion is one of her goals. And for herself: "I would like to break the 200 individual medley and the 400-yard freestyle records before I leave.
"Although I would like to (continue swimming in college) it isn't a major priority," said Fahy, who is considering Dartmouth. "I took time off this year from swimming to explore other interests including anthropology and biology. Continuing my swimming career would depend on what school I went to."