Senior Spotlight: Mary Patterson

March 13, 2008

Mary Patterson's career as a Washington Husky swimmer came to a close two weeks ago at the Pac-10 Championships and as she looks back on her time at the UW she has many fond memories.

For starters, Patterson got to swim this year alongside her twin sister Genevieve after the latter transferred from the University of California this summer. The two may specialize in different events - Mary in the backstroke, Genevieve in the breaststroke - but they are hard to tell apart when they stand side-by-side and the two are extremely close.

'It's been great to spend time with my best friend and know that she can still be a part of a team and enjoy herself,' said Mary Patterson.

An added benefit of swimming for the same team is that their parents, Bill and Catherine, could make the three-hour drive north from their home in Vancouver to watch the two compete at the same time.

'It's great to have our parents be able to see the two of us accomplish our dreams and passions,' said Mary.

Mary even had the chance to swim against her dad, who won three Pac-10 titles in 1978 while swimming for the Huskies, at the Husky Swimming 75th Anniversary Alumni Meet this past September. The two went head-to-head in the 100 backstroke, with the younger Patterson winning out.

'I totally beat him,' said Mary. 'Leading up to the swim meet we would talk on the phone and try to find ways to intimidate each other. It was so funny.

'My dad really loved swimming for the UW and I feel honored to swim and know he could see me at the same school and tradition he went through. I would not have chosen any other school.'

Mary Patterson chose the UW coming out of high school because of the Husky swimming tradition that she had talked with her dad about growing up.

'I really liked the tradition and wanted to be a part of such a great program. I liked the people and the environment that the university had.'

This season at the Pac-10 Championships, Patterson helped the Huskies to a seventh-place team finish, which was their best showing since 2003. Patterson took 20th in the 100 backstroke, after placing 22nd in the event at last year's Pac-10 Championships in what was then the sixth-fastest time in UW history (56.43). She also placed 23rd that year in the 200 backstroke in a time of 2:03.03, which at the time ranked No. 9 all-time in school history.

Patterson lists her two top-24 times at the Pac-10 Championships in 2007 as one of her most memorable moments of her career. She also said that the Huskies win over No. 21 USC on the road this season was a great accomplishment for her team and something that sticks out during her four years at the UW.

'I feel really great being part of such a great team and knowing it will keep becoming better as the years go on.'

Patterson is set to graduate this June with a degree in sociology. From there she plans on getting her real estate license and eventually would like to attend an interior design school.

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