A dominant performer from the moment she dove into the Spaulding Gym Pool, Kathy A. Quinn Fagouri becomes the second women’s swimmer to be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. A four-year member of the KSC swim team (1984-88), the backstroke and freestyle specialist, qualified every year for the New England Championships, where she swam her way to 15 All-New England honors.
“I was always nervous, but I think the strong competition brought out the best in me,” said Fagouri of her races at the Championships. “ I would just push the speed button until I had nothing left in the tank.”
During the dual meet portion of the season, Fagouri was just about untouchable in her sprint freestyle and backstroke events providing the Owls with key meet points. But as much as Fagouri enjoyed the challenge of her individual events, it was her participation in the relays that bring back her fondest memories. “I was the lead off swimmer doing the backstroke followed by Meg Dakin (breast stroke), Sheila Dunn (butterfly) and Jen Keough, who finished with the freestyle, Fagouri recalled. “Competing with such a strong relay team, I loved it.”
“Kathy was an intense competitor,” said her Coach Steve Cone, who Fagouri credits for recruiting her to KSC. “She didn’t want to lose. Kathy had a healthy dose of natural ability and an abundance of determination to succeed.”
No Keene State swim story would be compete without a mention of their annual trip to Florida. Fagouri remembers when their freshman trip coincided with the arrival of Hurricane Hugo. “To the non-swimmer it might have been a disappointment, but to a crazy group of swimmers, all we saw was fantastic waves. Coach Cone canceled the pool practice and the team went off to the ocean.”
Originally from Hanover, N.H., Fagouri still holds Owl records in three events (100-yard freestyle, 100- and 200-yard backstroke) as well as several marks in relays.
“I always used records as a motivational tool,” said Fagouri. “I hope they serve the same purpose for today’s swimmers when they look up at the record board.”
But as proud Fagouri is of her records, she has drawn her most satisfaction from what she learned at Keene State. “Keene State taught me more than what was between the pages of a textbooks. It taught me that hard work and pursuing the knowledge will advance me in life after college. “We have lived in several states since my graduation from Keene and in each job I accepted I received awards for my dedication and performance. This, I firmly believe would not have been possible without the guidance and education I received at Keene State.”
“As a Director of Aqua Arthritis and Aqua Aerobics program and as a Recreation Therapist, I have been able to use my education from KSC along with my commitment to fitness to help people achieve a higher quality of life that otherwise would not have been possible.”
Fagouri, a 1988 KSC grad, now resides in Lake Orion, Michigan with her husband Chris, a former swimmer for the KSC men’s swim team, and sons Alex and Mark.