November 11th, 2010

Plant Teaches Character To New Generation

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Plant Teaches Character To New Generation
photo by Sarah Menefee

Olympic swimming star speaks at Georgetown College series

In the third installment of Georgetown College’s “Conversations with Champions” series, sports journalism Hall of Famer Billy Reed interviewed standout swimmer Mary Plant (formerly Mary T. Meagher) last night about her triumphs in the pool, and her humble attitude toward the sport.

“I was blessed that I was so naïve growing up in swimming,” said Plant. “I didn’t think about going to the Olympics. It just happened.  Butterfly picked me.”

Reed asked Plant about her family life, sports dedication, and journey into adulthood. Yet above all else, Reed asked her about thoughts on the importance of teaching values to children learning sports.

“When I was asked to come talk about my career, I didn’t know if I was going to do it,” said Plant. “But when I heard it was really about character development through athletics, I knew I had to make the journey.”

Georgetown and Reed have teamed up to select outstanding athletes throughout the year that exemplify the positive examples of an athlete. The series is based on the need to “bring character back to athletics.”

Sacred Heart Academy and Scott County High School swim teams were seated in the audience to listen to the former world record holder, and Plant shared her thoughts on keeping her priorities straight, obedience and faith to the squads.

“My parents taught me to put God first, follow my Catholic faith and work hard in school. I give all the credit to God,” said Plant.

As the evening came to a close, parents, staff and student athletes came on stage to ask Plant advice for their own swimming careers.  Wide-eyed young swimmers asked about ways to improve their strokes and what to think about during races. Each child asked for Mary's signature on swim caps, bags and clothes. Reed watched nearby as the kids listened intently to every word.

Said Reed: “See how those kids are just paying attention to everything? That’s why she’s here. She’s a perfect example of what we are trying to teach here at Georgetown. I hope these kids take away something from this event to help them make good life decisions.”


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