Maggie Wallace is the latest Ocean City High School swimmer to commit to a Division I college or university.
Wallace, one of the state’s best high school distance swimmers, has verbally committed to continue her academic and athletic career at Indiana University.
“When I first started the process, I made a list of about 12 schools and Indiana was very much a constant the whole time,” Wallace said. “During the recruiting process I felt very comfortable with them. They kept telling me how they really enjoyed talking with me and how they thought I’d be a great fit there. Then when I went there for a visit I fell in love with the campus and the coaches and my future teammates. I felt all along in the back of my mind they would be my No. 1 choice.”
Wallace, a rising senior who has also excelled for the Egg Harbor Township Seahawks club swimming program, finished second to teammate Amanda Nunan in the 500 freestyle race at the New Jersey Meet of Champions in each of the past two seasons.
Earlier this summer, she competed in the Speedo Sectionals Series in Christiansburg, Va., where she won the 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle races.
Wallace is also a senior nationals qualifier who placed sixth in the 1,650 freestyle at the Speedo Winter Nationals in 2016. Earlier this year, she placed 16th in an international field of 58 swimmers ranging in age from 14 to 24 at the Open Water Nationals to qualify for the UANA Open Water Championships in Grand Cayman in early June. She placed sixth in that event.
Wallace, 17, a rookie lifeguard on the Ocean City Beach Patrol, also won the swim race at the Longport Women’s Lifeguard Invitational last week. She said she informed Indiana of her decision after that race.
“The coach (Ray Looze) was here for a home visit and he got to see me swim in Longport,” Wallace said. “I made my decision that night when we went to dinner with him.”
Indiana is one of the top women’s swimming programs in the country. The Hoosiers finished second at the Big 10 Championships and eighth at the NCAA Championships last winter.
“It’s very rewarding to know I can go to a top eight NCAA school,” Wallace said. “All the morning practices and all the time I spent in the pool has paid off for me. I couldn’t ask for anything better. This was my goal when I started swimming when I was really young growing up in Ocean City. I’m really happy to attain this goal and I hope I can go on and have a good college career.”
Wallace, who said she plans to major in health sciences, is the latest Ocean City standout to commit to a Division I program. Her Ocean City teammate for the past three seasons, Amanda Nunan, is set to swim at the University of Tennessee. Past Ocean City standouts Aly Chain and Amber Glenn are swimmers at Iona and Penn State, respectively.
“ I was talking with Amanda lot about her recruitment process -- how she felt and how she decided to go to Tennessee,” Wallace said. “We’re following Aly Chain and Amber Glenn. They kind of paved the way for Ocean City girls swimmers to become Division I athletes.”