Athlete Spotlight: Pittsfield High School's Liam Mooney
With the Berkshire League Individuals swimming meet on Saturday, Pittsfield's Liam Mooney stopped into The Eagle offices during the week to chat about his swimming career, his impending graduation and what will come next.
Berkshire Eagle: When did you first learn to swim and first start competing.
Liam Mooney: Learned to swim pretty young at Girls Inc. There was lessons there from an old teacher, and I think I was her least favorite one. I was terrible. My legs and back half would just sink the whole time. In fifth grade, I broke my arm and by the time it healed it was halfway through the swim season, but I wanted to do it. I eventually figured out, if you keep moving, you don't sink so much.
BE: Has it sunk in that you're reaching the end of your high school swimming career?
LM: It's getting there. Still waiting to hear back from colleges, so its mostly focusing on that and I haven't really had time to soak it all in. Once I figure out where I'm going, it'll sink it a lot more.
BE: What's your favorite event?
LM: Definitely the 100 fly. I learned to do it end of eighth grade. I was also really bad at it back then. My freshman year, though, even without learning to use my legs I managed to qualify for Western Mass. I started really working on it then, and got an old coach to help with the form. Not a lot of people can get the form down. It's hard when you first start, but once you have it down it just feels like you're flying on top of the water. So fast right at the surface. It's really cool.
BE: Is there anything you need to do beforehand to get yourself ready for a big meet like Berkshire Individuals?
LM: The biggest thing is actually I've found I get all of my best times when I'm feeling terrible. I think it's because I just have to sit there and spend five minutes just focusing on the race. The most recent one [home against Monument] I felt like I might be coming down with the flu and I nearly got a best time.
BE: What's the top memory of your time with Pittsfield Swimming
LM: There's a lot of really good memories. Freshman year there were a whole bunch of seniors on the team back then and they were all really good people. We were coming back from a meet in Vermont at like 8 p.m. and they were playing some terrible song on a speaker and they managed to convince the coach to stop at McDonald's. It was stupid, but it was just a really good memory with a really great group of people.
BE: What's next for you after Pittsfield High?
LM: I'm looking at colleges. Probably going to study physics or math. Something in that vein. I've got applications out to a bunch of schools.
BE: What's your dream school?
LM: That's tough. I'd say right now either Amherst College or Tufts.
BE: Finally, in the social media age, who is your favorite person to follow online?
LM: I think Jon Bois [@jon_bois] on Twitter. He tweets about sports, but he makes these weird tweets that aren't funny until you realize you're on a comedy page. It just cracks me up out of nowhere.
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