Before speeding off to Youngstown State, North Hills swimmer excited for WPIAL meet

Saturday, February 19, 2022 | 11:01 AM

As Maddie Mahoney learned, she also grew an appreciation for teaching.

That’s why Mahoney wants to study early childhood education when she heads to Youngstown State this fall.

She also will do a little swimming.

Mahoney, a senior at North Hills, committed to the Penguins in December, a culmination of a challenging yet successful high school career.

“Whenever I first visited, I loved the campus and the atmosphere,” said Mahoney, one of the top sprinters in the region. “Coach Brad (Smith) really got my attention by telling me that the team gets along really well and that they’re an awesome team and awesome people to be around.

“And they’re rebuilding their program, so that’s something I really wanted to be a part of.”

Smith will have Mahoney continue to utilize her speed in the water.

“They recently got a new sprint coach (Ryan Collins),” she said. “He’s pretty young, and I’m excited to work with him, knowing that he specializes in sprinting. He’ll help me grow a lot as a swimmer.”

Mahoney’s path to collegiate swimming hasn’t been easy. Her developmental years have been heavily impacted by covid-19. But she feels the challenge has made her better.

“We’ve all had to adjust a lot since covid, but I think we’ve all done a wonderful job of working together and becoming one, becoming a team,” she said.

“But it’s been difficult. Last year was one of the hardest years, swimming wise, that I’ve had to go through. But I think it’s made me grow mentally, a lot. Swimming is mostly mental, so it made me realize that you have to be in the right headspace to compete.”

Mahoney fell in love with swimming early, jumping in the pool in the North Hills at 8 years old and following in the footsteps of her older brothers, who went on to swim collegiately at Gannon.

“It’s definitely great motivation to have them and look up to them and see what I can do,” she said.

It was then that she grew an appreciation for teaching the sport and connecting with kids.

“I just love being around younger kids,” Mahoney said. “I teach them lessons every weekend for our club team. I just love it. I love being able to teach them, especially in swimming. Helping our younger generations grow is really something that I like to do.”

Mahoney has qualified for the WPIAL championships in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle, as well as the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke.

She feels that, before heading to Youngstown, she can make one last impact in Western Pennsylvania.

“I know those coaches are going to be watching,” she said. “It’s a lot of pressure on me, but I think I perform well under pressure. So I think I can pull a good race out and compete at a top level.”


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