Athlete Spotlight: Handley girls' swimmer Mahi Patel

Athlete Spotlight: Handley girls' swimmer Mahi Patel

Handley High School 16-year-old junior

Sport: Swimming. Events: 200 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay

Parents: Nirali and Pinal Patel

Hometown: Piscataway, N.J., moved to Winchester at age 5

What do you love about swimming: I love the relationships that I get to build with my teammates and how much fun I've had over the years.

Most memorable moment in swimming: It's definitely all of the fun bus rides and cheering each other on when we swim.

Most embarrassing moment in swimming: It was false-starting my freshman year. We were at the Virgnia Tech meet in Blacksburg. I false-started on one of my events because I kept leaning forward and I just fell in the water.

Most difficult moment in swimming: It's really hard when you are trying to drop time. In your individual events, you'll try to drop time and you'll have a bad day and you'll add time to your events at the next race. It is really tough practicing sometimes and sometimes you'll get out of shape. It will be really hard to get back into shape. That's an issue we've had this year [with COVID-19].

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: Ruth Bader Ginsburg because she was a very inspirational person and she did so many things when she was alive. I just appreciate everything that she's done and I would like to have a conversation with her if I could; Christina Kim, she is a professional golfer that plays in the LPGA. She is one of my greatest role models and has achieved a lot in her career. Although she has some haters, she isn't afraid to defend herself and that's something I respect a lot; Katie Ledecky, she's a two-time Olympic swimmer who has broken record times. She launched a STEM (education) program and also supports a children's hospital. I look up to her because she has always helped everyone around her and she's just a great role model.

Biggest athletic influence: Katie Ledecky. She has five record times in swimming and in terms of this sport she has done so much. She has not been recognized as much as she should have. She is such a really good swimmer.

Who is your favorite teacher: My art teacher Mrs. [Heather] Scott. I've known her since I was in middle school. I've always had a lot of fun in her class and she's really fun to be around and talk to.

Favorite athlete: Katie Ledecky

Favorite sports team: Washington Capitals

Favorite movie: “Alice in Wonderland,” the live action one

Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”

Favorite song: "Live Wire" by Motley Crüe

Favorite food: Chicken Alfredo, homemade

Worst thing you’ve eaten: Cooked spinach

Plans after high school: I plan on trying to get into the University of Maryland and major in biology and organic chemistry. I've always been interested in medicine and I've always liked biology. I took chemistry last year and I really enjoyed it. I hope to be a surgeon or at least a surgical technician.

— Compiled by Walt Moody

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