Lily Ives ’23
Being an identical twin comes with its perks and challenges, especially when you play the same sport, go to the same school, and live in the same college house.
Keelyn and Ali McNamara, two seniors on the women’s lacrosse team here at Trinity, have mastered the art of being identical twins. Despite the natural sibling bickering, stealing of clothes, and having long-time classmates and teammates still unable to tell the difference between the two of them, they would not change their decision to go to school together for the world, and neither would their fellow lacrosse teammates.
Now that they are seniors, the Tripod sat down with the McNamara twins to discuss their unique experiences here at Trinity as twins on the same team. When asked about the process behind their decision to pursue collegiate athletics alongside each other, Keelyn explained that, as they both dove deeper into the recruiting process, they realized that they wanted similar experiences in terms of athletics and academics. Ali added to that sentiment stating, “I liked the idea of being able to continue athletics with Keelyn. I wanted to continue to compete with her and push each other during our collegiate career.” As their Bantam teammates know firsthand, the McNamara twins do indeed push each other daily, as well as drive and push all the players on the lacrosse squad.
When the McNamara twins began their lacrosse career as fellow Bantams, Keelyn noted the comfort she felt having Ali by her side, stating, “My favorite part of being on the same team freshmen year was just having someone else there that I knew and was familiar with. It was great to have each other because we are so close. I could count on Ali to give me honest feedback and encouragement.”
Those who know Ali and Keelyn and have had the chance to play on a team with them know just how much their presence is felt in the weight room with their undeniable strength, effort, and drive to continue to better themselves and their teammates. Trinity College head strength coach Bill Delongis noted the immediate impact that the two had from the moment they stepped into the weight room their freshman year stating, “When I think of role models, I think of them. They exhibit everything a Bantam should. They’re dedicated to getting better 365 in all facets of sports performance. They always give 100% effort.” When asked to describe the McNamara twins with only a few select words, assistant women’s lacrosse coach Meg Albertson stated, “Team first attitude, driven, always going 110% and never complain.”
Being a twin on the same team comes with obvious comparisons and heightened competition, something that Keelyn and Ali acutely know and don’t shy away from. As Keelyn says, “At the end of the day, we love each other and want each other to succeed the same amount we want ourselves to succeed. There’s always a big feeling of pride when Ali does something well but, also, I am motivated to do something better or do something just as good.”
Being an identical twin can also come in handy in tricky spots, as Keelyn described a moment that happened to her in her freshman year on the team. She says it’s one of her funniest memories on the lacrosse team she’s had, “before anyone could tell us apart, I messed up in a drill in front of the whole team. I was super embarrassed, so I told everyone I was Ali!” Since their freshmen year, the twins have adopted different hairstyles for their teammates to be able to tell them apart on the field, as Ali wears her hair in a high bun and Keelyn wears hers in a ponytail.
Looking back on their time and personal journeys here at Trinity, Keelyn notes, “it was really hard to create a new more individualized identity because I was used to being the ‘twins’ my whole life. Having the lacrosse team really make an effort to know the difference and get to know us as individuals really helped me with coming out of my shell and lean into my own personality and identity.” Now as seniors, both Keelyn and Ali can reflect on their college experiences together, and as Keelyn says, “I honestly forget I am an identical twin because of how different we are and how individualized we have become in college. It’s nice to have a built-in best friend who is exactly like you but also nice just to have someone who knows you more than yourself.”
One post note, as the writer of this article and a 3-year teammate of the McNamara twins, I can personally attest to the unique spirit and drive they bring to the team and the Trinity women’s lacrosse family. When you see Ali and Keelyn together, it might feel like you’re seeing double, and, for opposing teams, that can mean double trouble.