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Rickards senior swimmer Mao puts student in student-athlete

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 9:47 AM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Over the weekend, the FHSAA swimming and diving championships took place. Rickards senior Alice Mao was the only young lady from the area to compete in Class 2A, and she puts the student in student-athlete.

Mao finished her high school swimming career at Rickards, as the championships were her last event.

“I just want medals in both events this year,” Mao said. “Last year, I had a medal in 100-breaststroke. I kind of want to medal in both this time.”

Mao accomplished her goal. She finished seventh in the 200-yard individual medley and seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke. And seven appears to be the magic number, as it is the age Mao first got into the water.

“My dad wanted me to exercise, so he just put me in swimming,” Mao said. “I just kind of started competing.”

And then Mao fell in love with swimming.

“It’s like in water,” Mao said. “I like that aspect of it not being on land. Also, I have all my teammates.”

Outside the pool, Mao is even more impressive. She sports a 3.92 GPA and is choosing between Cornell, Emory University and the University of Florida for her post-high school studies.

“Those are basically my top three," Mao said.

Mao choose Rickards because of the International Baccalaureate program. She said the first two years were great, but the workload kicked to another level during her junior year.

“It’s a lot of papers,” Mao said. “There’s a 4,000 word one. There’s a 2,200 word paper. So they’re pretty long research papers."

Mao said the “IB” program challenges her academically. If she swims in college, it would be competitive.

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