YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- A swimmer from Yorktown is the newest Providence Friar.
Mark McLaughlin, a senior at Yorktown High School, recently committed to swimming for the Providence Friars in the Big East with plans to officially sign his letter of intent in November.
McLaughlin managed to achieve his scholarship despite only swimming varsity his sophomore year. The swim team was discontinued his junior year due to lack of participants. McLaughlin is hoping there will be a swim team his senior year, as 11 people have signed on.
When he's not swimming for Yorktown, McLaughlin is a member of the BGNW Marlins, who swim at the Boys and Girls Club. He has been swimming since he was six.
"I wanted to be like my brother," McLaughlin said. "I realized I was okay and then tried out for Marlins. That's how it all started."
McLaughlin swims the backstroke and individual medley and can be often found in the pool.
"I'm there 6-7 days a week, two hours a day," McLaughlin said. "It's a lot of laps and a lot of hard work. You've got to want t. You have to stay in shape."
Swimming for a Division 1 School like Providence was always McLaughlin's goal. After his successful sophomore year, McLaughlin knew swimming in college could be a reality and he soon hooked up with Providence, where he hopes to be a business major.
"I like the team and I like the location," McLaughlin said. "The campus felt like home. I'm looking forward to swimming in the Big East. I like the competition. It's going to push me to be sharper."
Balancing swimming with schoolwork and still having time for a life can be challenging, but McLaughlin said he has been helped by his family and friends being 100 percent supportive. McLaughlin said swimming has taught him the value of being determined.
"You can't be a slacker and be good at swimming," McLaughlin said. "You have to want it. It helps you both physically and mentally."
Michael Phelps, who has won 23 Olympic gold medals for swimming is McLaughlin's biggest inspiration.
"You could tell he's built for it, he's always wanted it," McLaughlin said. "He's always been a role model for me. To see Michael Phelps win all these gold medals, it sparks a drive for me."