New Canaan Old Timers Association Spotlight: Kara Devlin Yonker


One of the most dominant and decorated swimmers in the history of Connecticut swimming, Kara Devlin Yonker attended New Canaan High School and swam for the Rams from 1981-1985.

Kara Devlin (far right) along with fellow NCHS members of the 1982 All FCIAC 1st Team. Photo: Contributed

Kara Devlin (far right) along with fellow NCHS members of the 1982 All FCIAC 1st Team. Photo: Contributed

A three-time high school All American, Kara won every CIAC race she competed in during her career except one, where she placed second. She won 8 individual FCIAC, Class M and State Open titles and held FCIAC and CIAC records in the 200 and 500-freestyle events. Kara earned Connecticut Swimmer of the Year honors in 1983 and 1984. She was also captain of the NCHS swim team.

During her sophomore year Devlin Yonker earned a world ranking of 16th in the 200 meter butterfly and 23rd her junior year. After the season, she was named to the U.S. Junior National team that competed against the then Soviet Union in Walnut Creek, California. Kara was named captain of the team and won the 200-meter butterfly at that dual meet.

Upon completion of that meet, Devlin Yonker was selected to take part in the U.S. Junior National program at the Olympic training center in Colorado.

After closing her career at NCHS, Devlin Yonker qualified for the 1984 Olympics Trials in three events and finished 10th in the 200-meter butterfly.

Kara Devlin Yonker. Photo: Contributed

Kara Devlin Yonker. Photo: Contributed

Devlin Yonker was recruited by every major college swimming program in the country and accepted a full scholarship from the University of Florida, which was the top-ranked program at the time.

During her freshman year, Devlin Yonker finished 2nd place in the 200-meter butterfly in the SEC Championship and earned All-America honors.

Devlin Yonker transferred to USC after her freshman year and continued her success for the Trojans.

Kara captured 2nd place in the 200-meter butterfly at the Pac-10 Championships and 7th at the NCAA Championships once again earning her All-American honors.

The sister of fellow NCOT honoree Paul Devlin, Kara lives in Santa Barbara, California with her husband Chad and four children, Patrick (17), Amanda (16), Sophie (8) and Christian (6). She enjoys volunteering at her children’s school and sporting events. A fitness enthusiast, Kara enjoys running and cycling and recently joined the masters swim program in Santa Barbara.

The New Canaan Alumni Athletic Association/New Canaan Old Timers Association will hold its annual picnic on Sunday, September 18 at Waveny House.

This year’s event will feature eight honorees: Bill Brown, Kara Devlin Yonker, Paul Devlin, Cari Hills, Mario Lopez, Jeff Mellick, Bob Schott and Andy Towers.

The celebration runs from 10am to 3pm and includes a continental breakfast, beverages and lunch. The cost is $50 for adults, $20 for students. Children under 14 are admitted for free.

Checks may be made payable to New Canaan Old Timers and mailed to P.O. Box 1642, New Canaan, CT 06840.

Proceeds from the event go toward the Vin Iovino Scholarship, named for the former NCHS athletic director and presented to selected senior athletes at the annual sports picnic and award ceremony held at the end of every school year.


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