Five state championships, six district championships and two-time PIAA Swimmer of the Meet — those are just some of the major accomplishments Shamokin Area High School swimmer Abby Doss has over her career and her commitment to winning has added fuel to her readiness for new challenges.
Doss is currently holding seven school records, which include the 500 freestyle and 200 IM. The junior is also a two-time national champion in the YMCA Long Course National Championships in the 200 IM.
Last week, Doss committed to N.C. State, where she will be joining the Wolfpack’s swim team. Doss was contacted by several colleges, including Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
At the end of the day, the family-like atmosphere made going to N.C. State an easier decision for Doss.
“What got me about N.C. State is that they’re just not teammates, they’re a family down there. They’re always doing stuff together. They have hundreds upon hundreds of majors, but they still say, ‘Oh I can help you with this. I can help you with that.’ They’re really tight and you can feel that in the room, “ Doss said about choosing to commit to the Wolfpack.
Doss has an offseason plan before her senior year of swimming begins, which includes continuing her training that lasts year-round.
“I don’t do any other sport. I train year-round. We got a new assistant coach and he’s younger and he’s new to it so he’s super excited. He’s one of the Bucknell assistant coaches. So, he’s going to get us in there and have us start lightly lifting. It’ll be nice because then I’ll have a little lifting basis now for when I go to college.
“Our assistant coach and Jerry are like really good friends with the N.C. State coaches. So, they know I’m getting a good workout with the lifting. They actually recommend not lifting until you get to college, because if you learn the wrong way, then you’re going to keep doing it the wrong way in college so it’s harder to break,” Doss said about lifting during the offseason.
Shamokin swimming head coach Jessica Wolfgang commended Doss on her talent and dedication to her craft and knew she would be special.
“She was always such a performer when she would always go out. She just needed more. So, that’s when she started doing club teams and things just to swim more all year-round.
“When she was little she had this natural, raw talent that you just don’t see,” Wolfgang noted.
Doss not only wants to compete at a high level, but she is focused on keeping the ball rolling and capturing more victories in the future.
“As a high school athlete you don’t see individuals with her mentality, her drive or her work ethic. To go out and be so positive and a lot of kids are negative. They want to win, but they don’t see all the factors involved in athletics. She is so driven and it’s impressive to see that, “ Wolfgang added about the intangibles that Doss brings to the pool each season.
For the Indians swim team, seeing Doss get gold medals and first place in a plethora of events has given her teammates an extra boost when preparing for new challenges.
“I think people on the swim team see Abby and her success and think ‘Wow look what she’s able to accomplish.’ It gives the other kids a drive to push themselves to try to be on that level as well,” Wolfgang explained about the ripple effect.
“We’ve never had anyone like this at our school and to accomplish what she has is huge. Not just our sport alone, but in all sports. She already has five state championships and swimmer of the year two years in a row. We’ve never had an athlete get that across our school district. To achieve that is just incredible.”
Doss is eyeing her senior year and she wants to not only help her fellow Indians, but her sister and brother when it comes to making a college choice.
“They’re (N.C. State) like we’re going to have to turn you into a miler now, which requires training with more distance. My sister’s here last, so I’m trying to make sure she’s set up right for her college path. I know a lot of college coaches now, so it’s like I can see her here. I can see her there,” Doss said.
Doss added that she wants to do her part in making sure her siblings are set up in the right direction.
“Just trying to get them set up and have a great senior year. I’ve been hammering training and this year. I’m working on getting my meal plans better for nutrition. I felt like this past year I didn’t focus on that as much,” Doss explained about her goals for next season.
Like most championship athletes, Doss shows up in major events and outduals opponents regularly. Wolfgang said that it is a joy to watch her go toe-to-toe with other elite swimmers with high stakes.
“At the state meet that’s where she shines. At a regular dual meet, We know that there’s not many that can compete with her on that level. So, when you go to the big state meets that’s where it’s fun to watch her because she’ll have more competition. It doesn’t seem like it when she swims because she has a lead the majority of the time, especially in the distance 500, but that’s where it’s really exciting to see her swim,” Wolfgang said.
When it comes to special moments in Shamokin Area’s swimming history, Wolfgang believes that the program’s relay team going to states for the first time this past season was a thrill and something to always remember when looking back at Doss’ career.
“We never had a girls relay team qualify for states until this year. This year was exciting, because we had a whole girls relay team go. So for her to be apart of that, her sister and the other girls, that was something great that we never had. To share that memory and that moment was really cool to see,” Wolfgang shared.
When asked about an extremely gratifying experience during her time as a high school swimmer, Doss discussed a national title meet in the 200 IM during her freshman season where she started off with a poor start, but rebounded nicely.
“I swam the 2 IM and during the fly I had a horrible start. I hit my head on the first 25 because I thought I had another stroke. The backstroke was horrible. At this point I was thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I’m embarrassing myself in front of all these people. And I just Jerry and the other coaches and they said, ‘You have to trust your training,’ and I kind of at that moment had a switch flip me and it was half-way through the race,” Doss explained.
“These girls were like two-three body lengths ahead of me and in a 100 that’s kind of hard to make up. But, I was able to pull ahead of everybody. I was last. I hit the wall last at the 100 mark and I ended up placing first. I was a national champion as a freshman. I was able to get a 26th in my 53 at the end, which was the fastest split out of all the girls. It was by a finger touch. It was .05 and it was a blank. None of us knew. There’s a video and all of us reach our hands up at the same time and slam the wall and it was whoever hit first got it. It’s just me looking up and seeing I got first and I was just in disbelief.”
Doss added that when she was younger one of her teachers brought insight that has stuck with her to this day.
“When I was younger we (classmates) had to pick what sport we wanted to do. Coach told us, and I took it with me, ‘When you first started and you did all your sports what did the little girl in you want to do? For me the little girl wanted to swim.”