Wilsonville swimmer committed to LSU
Abby Maoz does not miss a swim practice.
"It just never happens," said her father, Mike. "She can have a fever. She'll have four finals (exams) in a day and she'll still make sure she gets to practice."
"I like to have 100 percent attendance," explained the Wilsonville junior, sitting at her dining room table.
It is Wilsonville's winter break, and Maoz's morning already has included a two-hour practice in Tualatin, followed by physical therapy. Another practice is scheduled for the evening.
"I just really like to be there and see all of my friends," Maoz said. "Going to swim practice and seeing my friends is my favorite part of the day."
Maoz has swam for the Tigard Tualatin Swim Club since moving to Wilsonville from Connecticut about two and a half years ago.
"She's one of those kids that's really just a delight to coach," said TTSC head coach Brad Robbins. "She's eager to learn. She's at every practice with a lot of energy and a lot of gusto. Watching her progress and watching her improve over the past couple of years has just been really enjoyable for me."
That devotion has brought Maoz success in the pool and with it the attention of college coaches from all over the country.
In October, she verbally committed to Louisiana State University.
But Maoz, who began swimming year-round as a 9-year-old in Connecticut, has not always loved the sport.
"I hated it and I was terrible," Maoz said. "I didn't go to practice at all. I was too nervous to swim. When I wanted to make state with my friends, then I started going to practice."
Maoz also enjoyed relays, and her hard work there began paying off in her individual events.
Maoz' main event was butterfly. But instability in her shoulder joints caused her to move to breaststroke.
Maoz was a natural.
"She really started blowing people out of the water with the breaststroke," Mike said. "Her form was really good. It was very impressive. She was really far ahead of other girls her age. If you compare her to the other swimmers in the pool, you would notice a significant difference."
At age 12, Maoz made her first sectional cut in the 100 breaststroke.
She then went on to qualify for USA Swimming futures and junior nationals meets.
As a freshman at Wilsonville, Maoz not only won the 2018 Class 5A state championship in the 100 breast, but she also set a new state record, finishing in 1 minute, 3.66 seconds.
"I didn't even know I got it when I did," Maoz said of the record. "I was just swimming."
She competed in the state meet with a broken finger, after getting kicked in the hand during warmups at a dual meet a couple of weeks earlier.
"We didn't want her to swim it because we didn't want her to make it worse, but she refused to not swim it," Mike said.
While Maoz repeated as the Class 5A state champion in the 100 breast last February, she was not able to break her record, finishing in 1:04.29.
"This year with the training I've been doing, I feel really good," Maoz said. "I've been focusing on technique a lot more this season."
Maoz also owns TTSC's 15-16 year old girls record in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and her times (1:02.82 and 2:17.49) already are faster than the club's 17-18 records.
"It's just a matter of time before she takes down those records as well," Robbins said. "Abby's a great kid. I'm super excited to see what she's capable of. She's on track to do some great things. We're extremely proud of all of the work she's done."
Maoz was at a swim meet in California last June when she began receiving emails from college coaches.
One of those coaches was Dave Geyer at LSU.
She then met Geyer at junior nationals at Stanford University in August. He invited Maoz to visit LSU's campus, located in Baton Rouge, in October.
Maoz went on three of her five NCAA approved visits in October to LSU, Purdue and Nebraska. Princeton also reached out.
Maoz said she planned to commit to a school this spring, but after spending a weekend at LSU, watching swim practice, attending a football game, and eating lunch at a table next to Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow, she did not need to wait. Maoz committed to the Tigers a week after her trip.
"I love the coaches," Maoz said. "Practice looked really intense and I really liked that. They have so many resources at the school for athletes. It's crazy. That's what I really liked about it. The campus was very pretty. I loved it. It was so nice, and it's warm there."
But Maoz has two more high school seasons ahead of her before she can enroll at LSU.
"I want to go there already," Maoz said. "It's crazy. I just need to focus on my grades and swimming and not worry about all the college stuff yet."
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