Senior athlete Lydia Muldoon is one of the Upper Arlington representatives for the Agonis Club Scholarship. 

BY JOSIE STEWART, ‘21. 

While celebrating her Senior Night, senior Lydia Muldoon received news that she had been nominated for the Agonis Club Scholarship. The group, which is a service organization that raises money for Central Ohio high school athletes, receives two nominations from each high school in Columbus. This year, swimmer and water polo player Lydia Muldoon represents UAHS alongside fellow water bear Avery Voss.

Muldoon represents the school for recognition of her work as an athlete along with her outstanding academic performance. 

“I started competitive swimming in sixth grade,” Muldoon said. “Freshman year I played golf, and I varsity lettered there. I decided to switch to water polo, though, and I’m very happy with that decision. I’ve loved water polo.”

This year, though, due to COVID-19 restrictions early on in the 2020-21 school year, water polo was moved to the spring season. 

“Since polo got kicked to spring, it’s going to be weird having no break after swimming and just going straight into another season, but we will be in great shape,” she said. “Usually we’d never be in great shape during polo season, but now we’re going to be really fast swimmers which is great.”

This change also meant that the team has essentially had two swimming seasons back-to-back being in the pool for about eight months consecutively. With less restrictions now, they are also able to compete against other teams.

“Swimming is pretty normal [despite restrictions]. We just social distance in the lanes which is pretty normal. It’s a little different because we don’t all start on the same wall, and we just have to wear masks at meets and social distance sitting in the stands,” Muldoon said. “We’ve tried our best to continue cheering on each other without having any fans—just having our teammates as our cheerleaders. It still gets pretty loud.” 

In the time since Muldoon has joined both teams at the high school, they have seen many wins.

“My sophomore year [the polo team] got second at states, and then my junior year we got first. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” she said. “It was a very relatively new sport for me. I kind of got into it, and it looks super scary—everyone always says that—but it’s so fun. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had and just being able to swim makes it even better because people can’t keep up with you.”

During the swim season, she competes in the 100 freestyle and the 50 freestyle as a sprinter. During her four years, she has made it to Districts in both of these events and this year is hoping to compete at states.

While Muldoon is waiting to compete for a spot there, she and Voss also will hear about the scholarship which will be awarded in late April or early May.

For her academic consideration for the scholarship, Muldoon has had to balance being an IB diploma student with swimming and polo.

“It’s been interesting trying to do sports and the IB program. It was a lot last year, but obviously a lot less this year. I think it isn’t bad, but I also haven’t taken IB tests and been through the entire experience with COVID-19,” she said. “I’m very happy with taking the IB program, all of the teachers have been great and super helpful with extensions with sports if I needed them.”

This year, in the IB Diploma equivalent of the capstone, Muldoon worked on her Extended Essay based on the psychology of psychopaths.

“I’m very interested in psychology—I want to major in [it]. I want to be a child therapist, but I’m also interested in prisons and criminology,” Muldoon said. “[This year], I wrote about psychopaths and how they become those people and a lot about physical abuse in childhood and how it contributes to that.”

Now that Muldoon has almost completed her senior year and season, she has been considering her options for education next year.

“I’m still debating [which school to choose]. I have a few schools where I have the opportunity to walk on for swimming, and I have some schools where I would probably do club. There’s one school where I could walk on for polo, but I haven’t made any decisions yet,” she said. 

Despite this, she said she is still excited for her last season and remembers her past years fondly.

“I’ve been swimming with the same people for seven years so it’s very normal for me now to have these people around me every single day for so many hours,” Muldoon said. “They’re what I contribute a lot of my success to and they’re probably why I’m still doing this sport—this crazy, rigorous sport all the time because of them. I’m surprised I’ve made it through.”