Some of Paige Moss’ earliest memories center around swimming.
The Shorecrest High School senior swam in her first competitive meet at the age of 5, after having grown up with a mother, Gail, who managed an outdoor pool after meeting Paige’s father, Steve, while both swam at Central Washington University.
Paige’s sister, Julie, and her brother, Aaron, were each in the water at an early age, and Paige bopped around on her mom’s back while Gail gave swim lessons.
“My mom made sure all of us knew how to swim and we were required to do one year of competitive swimming,” Paige said. “We all stuck with it.”
Aaron Moss graduated from Shorecrest in 2014, and Julie graduated in 2017. Both swam for the Scots. Julie currently swims at Western Washington University, and Paige is ably carrying the family mantle.
Despite battling a mysterious shoulder injury that has stumped family doctors and forced her to stop swimming for Seattle-based Excel Swim Club to lessen the strain on her body, Paige has become one of the key cogs on the Scots’ senior-laden squad.
“Technically, Paige has the best starts and turns on the team,” Shorecrest coach Bill Murray said. “She is very competitive, and very humble about how talented she is. When it comes time to race, she brings it every time. I never worry about what her effort level will be. She is what a coach hopes for. Every year, she strives to be better, and when the stakes are higher, she always rises to the occasion.”
The Herald spoke with Paige recently about inner strength, sibling rivalries and water polo.
Tell me about your right shoulder injury. When was it first diagnosed and what has it been like to battle through something like that?
It started going into sophomore year, when I got hurt playing water polo. I never went to the doctor. I just went through swim season and just swam through it, never really knowing what was wrong. Physical therapy is the only thing that’s really helped, and that’s strengthened not only my shoulder, but my arm, back and core. I just know some days are going to be harder than others, but right now I’m as close to 100 percent as I’ve been since it started. I’ve learned I have a lot more strength than I thought I had.
What are some of your passions outside of swimming?
I love hanging out and just being around my family. I play water polo for my high school, too. It’s basically like lacrosse is, a club sport where Shorewood and Shorecrest are combined. I started freshman year and loved it, and I’ve played all of my years in high school. I’m also in a summer league at View Ridge Swim & Tennis Club (in Seattle). I wanted to do tennis for high school, but my sister was on the tennis team. We’ve always been on the same sports teams, and she asked me, ‘Can you please try something different?’ I’m super happy I went with water polo over tennis.
What are your plans for next year?
I’m definitely looking at colleges, and I’m thinking about going into sports medicine or maybe being a high school math teacher. I love math. I love that there’s either a right way or a wrong way to do something, where in English it’s like, ‘That’s right, but this is also right.’
What’s the toughest aspect of being a high school student-athlete?
Definitely the time commitment. After a tough practice all you want to do is go home and sleep, but you have to stay up for the next three hours to do homework or write an essay or something.
When you look back on your time swimming for Shorecrest in five or 10 years, what do you think you’ll remember most?
I think I’ll just appreciate the girls on the team and just being able to grow up with them. You can rant to them after school if you have a bad day. They’re the girls you go to, just like they were your sisters.
Your sister, Julie, swims for Western Washington University. What have you learned from her?
I always wanted to be better than her. She pushed me. If she makes a time, I would want to beat that time.
If you lined up in a 50 freestyle today, who would win?
I don’t know. The last time we raced was a while ago. She does breaststroke at Western, but I think it would be a really close race.