---- — By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MUNCY -- Watching her neighbors was all it took for an eight-year-old Emily Maxwell to become hooked on swimming.
After listening to her neighbors rave about swimming, Maxwell decided to sign up for the Lewisburg Gators along with her sister. Once the competitive fire was lit, Maxwell was on the fast-track to success in the water.
Ten years later, Maxwell is one of the leaders on a strong Gators squad while sharing her knowledge and experiences at the pool to help teammates reach new heights.
The hard work and countless hours that she and her teammates invested in the pool paid off in a large way this past season, with the club peaking at the right time.
Maxwell and her teammates saw everything come together in April with a sixth-place finish at the 2013 YMCA Short-Course National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., representing the Sunbury YMCA.
"That was pretty memorable to go out with a bang," Maxwell said. "It was awesome."
While Maxwell described the national championship meet as an incredible experience, she mentioned that she would still like to work harder as she transitions into collegiate swimming.
Maxwell added that her experience swimming on the national stage and dealing with the pressure that comes at that level will help prepare her for the her next step in swimming. She's off to Granville, Ohio, in the fall to swim for the Denison Big Red, winners of five straight conference titles and a team that finished third at the Division III Championships last year.
"I wanted a school that focused first on academics so that's what led me to Division III," Maxwell said.
Maxwell said that she wanted to have the chance to compete at the upper tier of Division III while also striking a balance with her studies.
Maxwell tossed aside any pressure in her first event at the Greater Susquehanna Valley Aquatics League Summer Championships on Friday, pacing the field in the 50 free, her marquee event. Maxwell grabbed an early lead off the blocks and held on for the victory before blazing past her competition in the 200 individual medley.
Recently, Maxwell has started to coach the young swimmers in the Gators program, giving back to her club and serving as a role model for future standouts.
"(Maxwell) works hard and she swims well," Gators assistant coach Zack Haney said of the recent Lewisburg grad. "The fact that she bestows her own knowledge on those kids has really made a big impact on this team."
The team aspect of the Lewisburg Gators has clearly had an impact on Maxwell, who mentioned that she admires her former teammates that swam in college before her.
For all of the success that she has found in the pool, Maxwell also ran track for Lewisburg, showing her prowess out of the water in the 400 and 800 relays. Maxwell said that years of swimming competitively prior to setting her sights on track during the spring season helped prepare her for the individual mind set of a track athlete.
Maxwell will soon leave her club team and travel to another state to start a new chapter in her life. If her swimming is any indication, she will approach her future one way: fast off the blocks with a will to succeed.