April 2, 2019

Despite winning a state championship as a junior, Holy Redeemer’s Adam Mahler didn’t let complacency set in for his final high school season.

When he needed a little assistance in his pursuit to drop times, he didn’t have to go very far.

“A lot of the credit for how I did this year definitely has to go to the guys team,” the 18-year-old Mahler said. “They stuck by me through some tough times, and they’re the guys who really pushed me to motivate myself. I’ve gone through plenty of times and practices where it’s just been me in the water, and it’s just not the same.”

While another PIAA Class 2A title wasn’t part of the end result, Mahler still had a postseason that merits a second straight selection as The Citizens’ Voice Boys Swimmer of the Year.

The Nuangola resident had two third-place finishes at Bucknell University, in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly — he set district records in both. Mahler also qualified for states as part of the Royals’ 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Next season, he’ll swim collegiately at East Carolina. But before he headed off for campus, or the YMCA nationals, Adam — the son of Eric and Rose Mahler and brother of Emily Mahler — spoke to us about his high school career and what may lie ahead in his future.

Q: When you think back to when you started competing in high school, how would you summarize the strides you were able to make in the pool?

A: I’d have to say leaps and bounds. I mean, I went from coming in here swimming YMCA-wise to really only having swam up to their state level and never really breaking to a top seed in anything. Then my freshman year, winning the YMCA state meet and taking district first places and, overall, just finally breaking in. I went from placing almost 100th place my freshman year at Y nationals to, last year, placing second and this year at junior nationals placing fifth.

Q: Did having so much success, especially early on, motivate you even more to get better and keep improving?

A: It was definitely a big motivator, but the larger motivator has always been just wanting to be better in general. That’s something I’ve had for years.

Q: Where are some of the places swimming has taken you?

A: So far, it’s mostly been down in North Carolina in Greensboro. Last summer, I went to Maryland at the University of Maryland for the summer Y nationals. This summer, I should be going over to California for the junior and, hopefully I make the qualifications for, senior nationals coming up.

Q: Did you ever think the sport would allow you such opportunities?

A: When I started swimming, I was about 7 years old. I never knew quite where I was going to go with it. There was always the kid dream of going to the Olympics and all that but, as I keep getting better, even that seems like more and more of a real possibility as I go.

Q: How excited are you to get started at East Carolina, and do you think there’s even more potential that swimming for a team like that might help you unlock?

A: I think for sure. I looked at East Carolina, and it took a lot of consideration for what school I wanted to go to. When it came down to it, I thought East Carolina just had one of the best programs. I think it’s going to be amazing down there.

Q: Ultimately, what do you drove you most at a big meet to set some of the times you did?

A: Just motivation for self-improvement. One thing I’ve always said to people is it’s not always the place that matters. A lot of times, it’s the time that matters. I mean, at states I may have gotten third place, but I swam my fastest 100 fly time and I think I can be even faster at Y nationals this upcoming week.

Q: When you see your name on the record board at the CYC, what does it make you think of?

A: It just makes me think of sort of how the future is going to go. Those records, I’ve said this before, I want people to go in and break them because it’s a great sport. I want someone to push to be better than me.

Q:Is there one race or one memory from your high school tenure that you’ll consider your favorite or just look back on fondly?

A: I probably have two races I hold pretty close. The first one would have to be last year when i won the 100 fly, because I get to keep that with me. That’s something I’m going to get to carry with me. The second would be the junior nationals medal I won this year with the help of some amazing coaching from my dad and some amazing support from my teammates.

Contact the writer: tpiccotti@citizensvoice.com; 570-821-0289; @CVpiccotti on Twitter