Abby Mahl and Maddie McGraw apparently don’t say a lot out of the pool.
But when they are in the water, that’s not a problem — their swimming does all the talking for them.
The Mt. Carmel Academy senior co-captains have been at the heart of the Cubs’ swimming program since they set foot on campus. And after three years of solid performances, both they and coach Bob Handley said they’re primed for even bigger seasons as seniors.
That was evident on Sept. 6 during the New Orleans Metro Swim League Kickoff Meet at UNO. Mahl edged Dominican’s Kaylin Smith to win the 200-yard freestyle relay in 2 minutes, 4.23 seconds and the 100-yard butterfly in 1:02.56. McGraw won the 50-yard freestyle in 26.28 and the 100-yard backstroke in 1:04.30.
Both admit that each other’s excellence in the pool is a main reason the other has to work hard. That, and they have younger swimmers who obviously are looking to them for guidance.
“We try to push each other and all the other girls,” McGraw said.
Handley said having his own “dynamic duo” in the pool helps make the entire Mt. Carmel program better.
“They’ve been doing this for four years now,” the longtime coach said. “They know what needs to be done. We have 17 (year-round) swimmers on our team, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be in the upper echelon. (Mahl and McGraw) are. They push one another in the water. They’re role models.”
Their young swim careers began a decade ago, when they both competed on the year-round Crescent City Swim Club Team. That dedication to their sport produces results, they said. Mahl placed sixth in the 100 fly in the Division I State Meet last season and seventh in the 200 free. McGraw was sixth in the 100 back and ninth in the 100 free. The Cubs placed fifth overall.
“We’re always working together,” Mahl said.
Handley said he thinks Mt. Carmel can finish in the top three at state this year — with his co-captains leading the way, of course. They’ll be tested by the likes of Mandeville, Northshore, Dominican, and St. Joseph’s (a team they will compete against this weekend in an invitational meet in Mobile, Alabama.)
It can only help the Cubs get better, which is what everyone in the program is aiming to do.
“I’m really excited,” Handley said. “It’s encouraging what the girls, all of them, have been able to do. You’re seeing the results in the pool.”