ABC 27's Scholar Athlete of the Week: Rickards' Alice Mao

Posted at 6:39 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 19:39:17-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Rickards High School hasn't historically been known for swimming, but senior Alice Mao made sure the Raiders were represented every year on the biggest stage.

Alice Mao is this week's ABC 27 Scholar-Athlete of the Week.

Four straight years of trips to State.

"Going to State for four years is definitely an achievement," said Mao. "I am the only one from Tallahassee going down to State in 2A."

For Rickards senior Alice Mao, her time as a Raider swimmer is over, but she's definitely left her mark.

"She's setting the bar when it comes to swimming at Rickards High School," said Arlando Williams, the head swim coach at Rickards. "Hopefully, that sets the scale for other people to come in, other swimmers to come in, other student-athletes to come in and shine on the sport and make it big."

"For me, it's always just been swimming," Mao said. "I just didn't care about anything. It's nice to see I have a lot of school records and that I'm definitely leaving a mark and leaving a higher standard than I left it."

It's a standard that Mao carries over to the classroom. As an IB student, she carries a 4.6 GPA.

"When it comes down to leading by example, she's there," said Williams. "She knows that, hey, I have to be a student first, and then an athlete.' They make sure that student part is out there and is being seen as well as what they're doing in the pool at the same time."

She's setting an example to follow, even if she likes flying under the radar.

"I just don't like the spotlight," Mao said.

The spotlight is shining on her after finishing top 10 in both the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke this season.

"Considering the situation we're in and the pandemic, not having the consistent training, I guess I'm happy about it," said Mao.

Happy with a career that's in the books for this season and forever at Rickards High School.

"It's a lot of swimmers on the team that looked up to her for that leadership," Williams said. "That leading by example type of situation. That's one thing I will miss."

An example that was strong and consistent for the past four years.

Mao said she wants to study computer science in college, and she hasn't ruled out the possibility of swimming just yet.