ALA junior McBratney being recruited by top colleges for swimming prowess

Swimmer Katie McBratney (Special to the Independent/American Leadership Academy)

September and October have been a couple of busy months for American Leadership Academy junior Katie McBratney.

Due to National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, starting Sept. 1, colleges can start reaching out to athletes they want to recruit.

“So a lot of colleges are sending stuff to me,” she said. “It’s not for academics quite yet, but for swim.”

Katie, who attends ALA Queen Creek 7-12, 23908 S. Hawes Road, has been swimming for years and has many college offers already.

“I talked to West Point when I was in New York. ASU. I’ve gotten Harvard, Princeton, Duke and Navy and Army,” she said. “I haven’t talked to all of them quite yet.”

Katie is still hoping to hear from Stanford, USC, Michigan, Texas A&M and University of Texas.

“I’d like to stay in the PAC-12 because I know those teams… But if I’m able to get the athletic and academic support outside the PAC-12 I am open to that too.”

Katie said her coach told her that she could go swim anywhere.

“I didn’t know that would mean everyone would blow up my phone on the same day,” she said. “I got one the night before, but it was midnight where the school was and I was like ‘oh gosh here they come,’ and then the next day my phone kept going and going and it was cool to see who was interested in me and my talent.”

American Leadership Academy junior Katie McBratney is being recruited for her swimming prowess by a number of top colleges around the country. (Special to the Independent/Lisa McBratney)

Katie said she has been in a swimming club since she was 6 years old.

“I didn’t know I was going to be doing it for the next 11 or 12 years of my life,” she said.

Katie said the swim stroke that has taken her the farthest is the breast stroke.

In August she won a national age group award for placing 10th at Junior Nationals in New York. There were 100 girls competing.

Katie was ranked 24 going in to the meet, but shaved a second off her time, she said.

Being that Katie is only a junior she still has some time before she has to commit to one school.

“I want all my options laid out for me and make sure that as an athlete I will get support, but also as a student and that school will offer me the best academic program as well as swimming.”

But swimming is her second priority to school, she said.

“She’s a great student, over a 3.5 GPA,” Rich Edwards, athletic director at American Leadership Academy, said. “When you combine that with how much time she spends swimming and what she does here at school it’s just amazing she’s been able to accomplish that… to me she’s one of those kids that don’t come around very often. She’s a hard worker, humble and a friend to everybody around her.”

With one more year at ALA, Katie has a few goals.

“For swim, my goal is I want to set a state record, and as a teammate want to help them find their passion,” she said. “And academically I want to make sure, not necessarily that I am on top but higher in the class where I have good grades so I continue to do well both in school and in the pool.”

Coach Corie McCurdy called Katie “amazing.”

“She is always cheering on all of her teammates throughout the meet,” Coach McCurdy said. “You’ll even see her cheering on some of her club teammates who aren’t even on our team. It’s great to see she’s got that camaraderie with other swimmers.”

News Services Assistant Arianna Grainey can be reached at 623-445-2717, via e-mail at or on twitter at ariannagrainey.




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