Walp set to compete at D-11 swim meet
Swimming can be referred to as an individual sport, but Catasauqua’s Maliya Walp fully understands the meaning of the reference.
The freshman is looking to be the Rough Riders’ lone representative at the upcoming PIAA District 11 swimming championships. She will compete in the 50 and 100 backstroke.
For Walp, her introduction to districts is the first plateau of likely more to come. It all began when she was five years old.
“That’s when I started swimming,” she recalled. “I have always been around water and a pool. I really enjoy it.
“Once I started swimming and took my first lesson, I knew it would be my sport. No one in my family swims, but this is something I knew I had to do.”
It wasn’t long after that Walp joined Northampton’s KIDS swim club, where she began to swim as many as 10 events. Walp cited the team’s constant support through the years.
“I made a lot of friends there,” she said. “They have been very supportive of me all the time. They are cheering me on during my events and that means a lot when you really don’t have a team.
“They have kept me going through this.”
Still, Walp has dealt with her doubts.
“I’m swimming alone, and it can be difficult at times,” she said. “I really learned how to stay focused. There were times that I thought about giving it up because it was just me, but I kept pushing myself.”
Walp has fielded her share of questions about the sport at Catasauqua, and she is optimistic that it can expand in the near future.
“I tell people that I swim for the school, and most of the kids didn’t think that was possible,” she said. “I think if enough people knew that we had it (swimming) as a sport, we could get some more kids.
“It would be really cool to have a team at the school.”
Before districts, Walp is ranked 15th in the 50 free with a time of 27.26, and she is ranked 12th in the 100 backstroke in 108.16. Both are personal bests for her in the events.
Walp realizes there is a long road ahead for her. However, she plans to coach the sport in the future. In the near future, it is about making her mark and further establishing the sport at the school.
“I’m looking forward to districts,” she said. “It has been a good year. I really think Catty can have a team in a year or two.”