The Hinsdalean - Community journalism the way it was meant to be

Central swimmer, dad die in Tuesday crash


Last updated 12/17/2020 at 12:42pm | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

Hinsdale Central swim team members spent Wednesday afternoon tying red ribbons around Hinsdale trees in memory of Kendall Pickering. Kendall, a Central sophomore, and her father died in a car crash Tuesday in North Carolina. Kendall already was a swimming phenom before she got to Central and was featured in a 60 Seconds article in June 2017 when she was 12. We have posted a few stories about Kendall's swimming career on our facebook page - https// (Jim Slonoff photo, file photo)

Robert Pickering, 59, and his daughter, Kendall, 15, of Hinsdale were killed in a one-car crash Tuesday evening on Interstate 85 in North Carolina.

The crash occurred at 6:49 p.m. in the southbound lanes of I-85 about 2 miles south of Kannapolis, said Trooper Ned Moultrie of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

The vehicle veered off the road to the right, struck a drainage ditch, then traveled down an embankment and struck a tree, Moultrie said. The driver and passenger were both fatally wounded and succumbed to their injuries at the scene.

"It is unknown why the vehicle traveled off the road to the right," Moultrie said.

While the investigation is still underway, Moultrie said the weather would have been listed as a contributing factor if that were the case.

Pickering was a standout swimmer in town, and recently gave a record-breaking performance at the IHSA sectional meet Oct. 24. She won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke, breaking the school's sophomore, varsity and pool records.

Her time in the 100-yard breaststroke also set a new pool record.

Two days later, when the team held its own private relay meet for national time trials, Pickering and her three teammates set new pool records in the 200-yard medley, the 200-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relays.

Kendall swam with the Hinsdale Swim Club as a child, winning her first state championship at age 10.

Hinsdale Central sent an eamil Wedneday afternoon informing families of the tragedy.

"Kendall was a beloved member of our school community whose strong work ethic, tireless dedication and passionate leadership helped her shine in the classroom and excel in the pool," the release states. "Most importantly, she was a wonderful student, classmate, teammate and friend who left an indelible mark on all of us. We will miss her terribly and always remember her with great fondness and affection."

She is survived by her mother, Kim, and her sister, Taylor.

The obituaries were not ready at press time Wednesday and will be posted online at when received.

Author Bio

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext. 104


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