Cat Watrous makes a splash after committing to Indiana University for swimming

Brooke Leslie

Currently dominating local waters, junior Cat Watrous will continue her swimming career after verbally committing to Indiana University (IU), a Big 10 school. 

Her achievement comes after over a decade of training. After starting with the Strawberry Seals when she was about four years old, Watrous began swimming competitively for her current coach, Don Swartz, in eighth grade. Swartz saw her commitment and capabilities and placed her into the senior training group, a group of faster, more dedicated swimmers. 

“Typically the swimmers in this group are high school and college athletes. But, every once in a while, there’s an eighth-grader, like in Cat’s situation. She demonstrated a willingness and we had a spot for her,” Swartz said. 

According to junior Gavin Green, Watrous’s teammate, she has always been especially self-motivated and hardworking, which further displays her commitment to the sport. 

“She is very determined to reach her goals. Not just prove to everyone else that she can do it, but so she can prove to herself that she can do something like committing to Indiana University if she works hard enough,” Green said. 

After Junior Nationals, Watrous and some teammates on the senior swim group meet with coach Swartz. 

Watrous’s talent and commitment is one thing, but her tenacity is the personality trait that has kept her so motivated throughout her swimming career thus far, according to Swartz.

“Grit is a long term commitment … Cat has managed to go 100 percent both when she feels good and when life is feeling pretty hard, which is especially relevant right now because of COVID-19. She’s an inspiration to her teammates and many of them inspire her,” Swartz said.

According to Swartz, Watrous has also continued to keep an open mindset and is willing to grow which is hard to do at such a high level. 

“A lot of athletes look at it as [you get what you have] and that’s it. Fortunately, Cat is not one of those people. She says ‘I can take what I have and improve it,’” Swartz said. 

Watrous takes every opportunity that she has to continue making progress every single day. This has also contributed to her decision to swim for Indiana University because the sport has become such a major part of her everyday life. 

“I try to improve every day. If I have a day where I’m not in the pool, if I’m not going to a lift or doing some sort of swim team related event, it feels like my day wasn’t complete,” Watrous said.


Preparing for a sectionals swim meet, Watrous and Green gather with their teammates for a team picture.

Balancing schoolwork and competitive sports is not easy for athletes, but Watrous feels that swimming has actually helped her excel in academics. According to Watrous, swimming has taught her how to hold herself accountable, which is a skill that she is going to need in the future.

“I think swimming has actually been a key asset to my academics and school life just because it has taught me such good self-discipline and time management which is really important for college,” Watrous said. 

Watrous has two more seasons left at Redwood before she makes a splash at Indiana University where she will continue to improve her skills, in and out of the pool.


“No one was surprised when they heard about Cat’s commitment. IU is a top ten in the whole country type of program which she deserves to be a part of,” Green said. “It’s really cool that she will be swimming at such a decorated program and I can’t wait to see what she does there.”