North Texas Daily

Freshman twins on swim team compete with and against each other

Freshman twins on swim team compete with and against each other

October 22
03:22 2015

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

There are two women on the North Texas swim team that are both freshmen, stand at 5’5 tall, and share a last name.

Surely enough, Meaghan and Kathleen Rousset are twins.

Born just nine minutes apart, the twins are both graduates of Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock, Texas. They both found success in high school, earning state finalist recognitions in their high school careers, and both ended up joining swimming coach Brendon Bray at North Texas.

But that wasn’t necessarily the plan.

“We never said, ‘Oh we have to go to the same school,’” said Kathleen, a marketing major. “I think in the back of our minds we knew we would end up going to the same school.”

Fortunately for the twins, North Texas didn’t want just one of them.

“It worked out that Brendon was able to offer a spot for both of us,” said Meaghan, a biology major. “Not every college coach was going to be able to offer a spot for two people to do the same event.”

Meaghan and Kathleen both compete in breaststroke, and Meaghan also competes in the individual medley event. This creates a lot of situations during meets where the twins are forced to compete against each other.

The twins encountered this in high school as well, but Bray enjoys the dynamic Meaghan and Kathleen bring to the team.

“It’s really fun and creates a lot of complex situations,” Bray said. “They compare themselves to each other all the time. It’s interesting because when you’re with a friend, you compare yourselves, but you know you’re inherently different. You know you have different capabilities. That doesn’t really apply when you’re a twin. When you’re a twin, you are genetically same.”

Meaghan and Kathleen are the first swimmers in their family and started swimming at eight years old in a summer league in their neighborhood. A competitive passion drove the twins to get involved in swimming year-round, making them the swimmers they are today.

“To be honest, they weren’t great swimmers at age 8,” said Hope Rousset, the girls’ mother. “They were really upset when other kids would do better than them. I told them those kids swim year-round, and that’s what they wanted to do.”

While the twins are hard to differentiate outside of the pool, in the pool they are completely different athletes. Being coached the same way growing up, they have similar techniques, but their execution varies.

“I think if Coach Brendon watched us in the pool, he could definitely tell the difference,” Meaghan said.

One of the best parts for the girls about being teammates, they said, is the ability to push each other. Despite their competitiveness in the pool, they want nothing but the best for the other. It is sibling rivalry in its purest form.

The girls’ mother has seen them compete more than anyone and said the rivalry is something she’s noticed over time – not just in swimming.

“They lived with their competition basically,” Hope said. “That went through other things in their lives, even schooI. I think they push each other, but I think it was all for the best. It just made the other one work harder.”

Meaghan and Kathleen wanted to make sure they were not living with the competition this year, as they asked coach Bray to make sure they room separately. The girls are on a similar workout regimen, routine and diet due to the swim program.

Similarities in their routines, bodies and mindset amplifies their competitiveness towards each other.

“If I see her and she swims before me and gives her best time, I think, ‘Yeah I should be able to do that,’ mainly because I know how we work together,” Kathleen said. “If she’s doing better than me, I wonder why I’m not doing as well as her.”

As competitive as the sisters seem, they still have a soft spot for each other and never let their rivalry get the best of them.

“We keep each other in line,” Meaghan said. “We want to beat each other, but at the same time we want each other to do well.”

Featured Image: Kathleen and Meaghan Rousset are twins on North Texas’ swim team. Colin Mitchell |Intern Photographer

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