The water doesn’t seem as deep now and it is far less intimidating as it was 11 years ago.
It was in the winter of 20xx that Kamaria Mahone found her passion.
After trying basketball, cheerleading and gymnastic, it was at Boundary Waters Aquatics Center that she feel in love with swimming.
But she first had to conquer her fear of the water.
Mostly the deep in of the pool.
She use to see one of the swim teams at the pool practicing and wanted to join. But first she had to learn the strokes. Daily she would come to the pool for lessons.
But the day she was to learn to swim in the deep in, it wasn’t as fun as she thought.
She cried when the instructor brought her over to the competition pool to swim in the 7-foot waters.
After refusing, she finally got in and learned that its wasn’t as bad as she thought.
Fast-forward to Thursday night at the very same pool, in those same deep waters, Mahone did what she has often done during the county meet - win.
She won both the 50-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke events in her last competition at the pool.
“It was pretty special swimming my last competitive and high school meet here,” Mahone said. “When I look back at memories that I have had in this pool. I remember going from hating swimming to finding my passion in life here while swimming. It is sort of bittersweet, but I’m happy to have done well in the final county meet.”
To make things even more special, Chapel Hill won the county meet. It was the first time in three years that Douglas County was defeated for the county championship. The Panthers had 399 points while Douglas County finished second with 313.
And Mahone helped play a big part in it with two individual wins. She also was part of the winning 200 freestyle and medley relays that won.
The free relay had a time of one minute, 47.8 seconds to set a new county mark. Mahone was the only senior among the foursome.
“It was real exciting in winning the relay and getting the county record,” Mahone said. “I wanted to come here and do well and leave with a bang as a senior.”
There is one more high school meet to go as she will again swim at the Georgia High School Association’s Class AAAAA-A Swim and Diving Championships next weekend at Georgia Tech.
It is a pool she is quite familiar with during her club swimming days. As a 10-year-old, two years after learning how to swim, she won the 50-meters championship in the state age-group meet.
During her previous two state high school meets, Mahone has made the finals in both the backstroke and 100 free. During the 2014 high school state meet, she became the first freshmen in county history to reach the finals of the meet.
She has left her mark on swimming in the county, if not, did some trailblazing alone the way. In November, she became the first female swimmer Douglas County School System history to sign a swim scholarship with a Div. I school.
Mahone will swim for Campbell University in North Carolina.
Lauren McGuire, whom Mahone has broken some of her club-level swim records, attended Landmark Christian and earned an appointment to the Air Force Academy, a Div. I school.
In the swim world this is know as championship season, and she hopes to finish strong. After the high school meet, she will pick back up training to get ready for her fourth Junior Nationals meet in March. Last time, she finished in the top-100 in the country in the 100 backstroke event.
“I’m looking to swim well and have fun,” Mahone said. “It is very exciting doing something that you love.”
And something that you are good at.