Athlete Spotlight: James Wood girls' swimmer Alyssah McGuire

60306c31f3911.imageJames Wood High School 18-year-old senior

Sport: Swimming. Events: 50 freestyle, 100 free, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay

Parents: Kevin and Amy McGuire

Hometown: Winchester

What do you love about swimming: I’ve always played on team oriented sports, so the individual competition is good for pushing myself. It’s you vs. the water and I can gain a lot of self motivation. I also love the positivity that revolves around the James Wood swim team.

Most memorable moment in swimming: Last season my coach put me into the 200 free for the first time. I haven’t done an event that long before and I was kind of nervous about finishing as quickly as I wanted to. The second I dove in the water, I lost my goggles at first contact and I had to swim the whole thing without them. I actually ended up getting second place and it’s safe to say that wasn’t the last 200 she ended up putting me in.

Most embarrassing moment in swimming: Last year an event got pushed back and nobody told my coach that. I ended up missing it. It got kind of hectic, so they let me swim that event by myself after all of the other girls had done it. I was in the pool alone and everyone was cheering me on. It was kind of embarrassing because it was a crazy situation and I was the only one in the pool. My time wasn’t the best because I really didn’t have anyone else around me to push me.

Most difficult moment in swimming: Our practices are usually pretty late at night and I usually get home super late and have school early the next morning. I also play volleyball, so trying to tackle that with workouts and schoolwork gets very hectic sometimes. I usually get overwhelmed, but I like a challenge. I figure it out.

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: Harry Styles, I love his music and he honestly seems like a fun and genuine person; My great-grandfather [Robert Cochran]. He passed away when I was little. My dad always tells me his POW stories and they are inspiring. I would just love to have a conversation with him and hear some of the things he has to say; Tom Hanks, I love his acting in his movies and he seems like such a happy, positive person. I really just would like his influences to rub off on me. I just want to have a conversation with him, honestly.

Biggest athletic influences: My dad is the first one. He’s always been my biggest motivation my whole life and he pushes me to be the best version of myself every single day. He played college football and so he helps me have what it takes to become a successful athlete. Also, Katie Houser. She’s a James Wood graduate and went to finish her volleyball career at the University of Georgia. She’s a huge role model for me. Her knowledge of the sport she loves and the coaching of it is amazing.

Who is your favorite teacher: Both of my art teachers — Richard Moore and Danielle Snapp. I have Miss Snapp this year and she has just a crazy personality as I do. We pretty much clicked instantly. Art is one of my getaways. They make me and my classmates better at what we do and they make it fun at the same time. They help me out a lot and they are really a good example of what makes high school fun and memorable when it comes to the teachers.

Favorite athlete: I’ve always looked up to the girls on college volleyball teams because that has been one of my goals. I don’t have any specifics.

Favorite sports team: Iowa Hawkeyes

Favorite movie: “Law Abiding Citizen”

Favorite TV show: “Friends”

Favorite song: Pretty much anything by Harry Styles

Favorite food: Fettuccine Alfredo

Worst thing you’ve eaten: Steak. I hate red meat. It’s just gross to me.

Plans after high school: I will be attending Washington & Lee University in the fall and play volleyball. I plan on double majoring in business administration and cognitive behavioral science. I’m looking into a career in industrial organizational psychology after I graduate. I took a career test in economics last year and that job came up. It was the perfect description of everything I was looking for in a job.

— Compiled by Walt Moody

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