Kathy Behringer earned 16 All-America certificates while swimming at The College of Wooster, and of those, 12 came as a member of a relay team, so it’s not surprising to see that same team-first mentality has carried over into a highly-successful professional career in the medical field.
Behringer, who grew up in nearby Stark County, got to the College in 1988, just as then-head coach Keith Beckett was beginning to build the women’s team into an annual contender at the national meet. Despite the pressure of joining an already established and talented squad that was returning a pair of All-Americans, Behringer quickly asserted herself among the team’s best.
Behringer not only qualified for multiple events at her first-ever NCAA Div. III Championships, but she exceeded all expectations by becoming one of just three swimmers in program history to ever record a national runner-up finish as a freshman, with that distinction coming in the 200 freestyle relay. She also was a member of the third-place 400 freestyle and sixth-place 400 medley teams, and individually, earned honorable mention All-American status in both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly while breaking the school records at the time. Overall, the Scots took ninth-place at the NCAA’s.
As a sophomore, Behringer helped Wooster improve its national standing to sixth-place, the program’s fourth-highest finish in team history, behind a series of fifth-place showings. Behringer and her relay partners once again sprinted to a second-place result in the 200 freestyle, and she also contributed towards two other top-10 relays, making her an eight-time All-American through just two seasons.
“Her skill, versatility, and selfless attitude were key links in the women’s team achieving two top-10s at nationals during her tenure at the College,” stated Beckett. “She led by example, and we were much better as a team and program because of her.”
With several key members of the team lost to graduation, including two of Behringer’s relay partners, the 1990 team finished in 22nd-place at the NCAA’s. Behringer was forced to put a little more emphasis into her butterfly events that season, and just like she did as a freshman, she again garnered honorable mention All-American accolades in both, while lowering her own school records in the process (1:00.20, 2:13.01). In an interview after the meet, Behringer said, “Honors are nice, but the only person I really compete against is myself. My main concern is that what I do helps the team.”
Behringer returned to relay success her senior year, specifically in the 200 freestyle once again. Despite teaming with three completely different partners than her first two years, she proved to be the constant in the relay’s success by leading a new-look group to their third All-American finish, this time taking eighth-place in the event.
She was part of two other top-16 relay teams in 1991, assisting the Scots to a 16th-place NCAA finish and bringing her career total to 16 All-American honors, which ranks her tied for fifth in program history (No. 2 upon graduation).
Equally outstanding in the classroom and the pool, Behringer was Wooster’s female recipient of the North Coast Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete Award in the inaugural year of the recognition (1990-91).
Many of those same characteristics and skills she developed at Wooster have led Behringer into a highly-successful professional career. After graduating, she pursued an advanced degree in neuropharmacology at Case Western Reserve University, where she discovered a love of medicine, and eventually earned her M.D. from the Ohio State University College of Medicine in 2000.
Since then, Behringer has worked primarily as a hospitalist, an internal medicine doctor specializing in adult intensive care and hospitalized patients, first in Akron, Ohio, and now in Williamsburg, Va., where she is employed by the Sentara Medical Group.
Being part of the Wooster swim program has had other long-lasting effects, as she married fellow swimmer Brian Vereb ’92. They have five children – Joelle (13), Jacob (10), Stephen (8), Caleb (5), and Corinne (infant).