Kathy McCarthy starred for the Bennett swimming team all four years in high school. Kathy was a pioneer in girls sports in Buffalo by becoming the first girl (along with teammate Lydia Manuel) to make a boys varsity squad. Trained by her dad, Vince, and coached by Byron Vickery, Kathy became the first girl to earn All-High honors by winning the 100 yard Butterfly in 1971. Kathy made believers out of doubters that felt girls could not compete at boys level on varsity teams.
In her first three years of competition, Kathy failed to finish first only twice in her specialty, the 100 yard butterfly event. Kathy also showed some versatility by winning several 400 yard freestyle events. During her sophomore season, Kathy was undefeated during the regular season, and came away from the All-High meet with another title. Kathy was the only girl to compete in that meet. As a senior, Kathy was a teammate of her freshman sister, Mary Lou.
Kathy followed her stellar high school career by landing a swimming scholarship to Lake Forest College (Illinois). Kathy Mccarthy Grilliot is now residing in Vienna, VA, and is teaching in the Respiratory Therapy Program at Northern Virginia Community College.