The Hares and UIC: Six Swimming Siblings Stock the Pool Through the Years
UNIVERSITY VILLAGE — A high school swimmer has about an 8 percent chance of competing at the collegiate level.
So imagine the odds of six swimming siblings earning scholarships at the same Division I school.
NCAA spokeswoman Cameron Schuh said the organization doesn't keep track of the number of siblings who are student-athletes, but the Hares might set the bar. By comparison, the Vanderkaay family put four boys — Christian, Peter, Alex and Dane — through Michigan's elite swimming program, but that's still two short of the Hares.
"UIC is just a part of all of us now," Katherine Hare said. "It just seems so logical to be here."
Katherine, 19, is 11 years younger than Christine, who accepted a scholarship to UIC because her father, William, swam there and she liked the city atmosphere. Bill, 28, and Dan, 26, who is considered the family's best and most versatile swimmer, followed, before Mike, 25, and Emily, 24, jumped into the Flames' pool.
"They all just fit in right away," said their mother, Mary Hare, a retired nurse, who is the lone wolf in the family, graduating from Loyola University Chicago. "With every kid, it was easier and easier."
Mike Hare also said his older siblings' success in the water — Christine, Bill and Dan all held school records — inspired him, Emily and Katherine to try and do the same.
"If I had bad swims, I know Dan and Bill would lay into me," Mike Hare said. "It kind of keeps the constant pressure there going."
It also didn't hurt that William, an orthodontist, and Mary purchased a two-bedroom condominium in University Village, about a two-minute bike ride from the school's natatorium.
At one point, Emily shared a bedroom with Mike, while Dan and Bill slept in the other room.
"We just cycled in and out of that condo," Emily Hare said of the living space, which she now inhabits with Katherine. Mike now resides with Bill close by in a University Village townhouse.
Emily admitted, as more Hares came to UIC, the younger siblings looked less and less at swimming for other schools. Katherine said her only official school visit was to UIC and she never considered other options.
People commonly ask the Hares if they were forced to go to UIC. That almost always draws a laugh, especially from Mary.
"I know people don't believe us because all the kids have went there, but they didn't want to go anywhere else," Mary Hare said.
In Moniak's 12 seasons, there's been only one without a Hare on the roster, the year after Emily's graduation. At that team banquet, Moniak presented the Hares with a plaque that said "In appreciation of the Hare family" with the siblings' names and years competing for the Flames.
"When Katherine is a senior, that's not going to be enough," said Moniak, of the South Loop. "We're going to want to really blow this out there and make it a huge deal."
Whether that means family naming rights on the natatorium or a Hare swimming scholarship remains to be seen. Moniak would not reveal how much scholarship money he's given the Hares over the 12 years, but Mary Hare said the school had been "generous."
Moniak noted that he's been more pleased with the Hares' post-graduate success — Christine is a full-time nurse; Bill is a dentist; Dan is working on finding a podiatry residency program; Mike is a CPA; and Emily is in the occupational therapy master's program at Rush — than their accomplishments in the water. Katherine expects to attend nursing school — at UIC, of course — after her 2016 graduation.
"Some of the smartest people I've ever met," Moniak said.
Moniak said following Katherine's departure, there "will kind of be a hole in the roster that hasn't been there before."
But the next line of Hares [of sorts] might be already on the way to UIC.
Christine has three children, two girls and a boy, with identical twin boys expected before Christmas. The oldest of her children, 4-year-old Henry Cunningham, already attends UIC swim meets, yelling encouraging words through a red-and-blue Flames megaphone.
"I'm 100 percent they'll all be swimmers at UIC," Mike Hare said of his nieces and nephews. "I'll be stunned if they're not."