News Detail

Athlete Profile: Maja Pekar '24

Maja Pekar '24 is an important member of the Rabun Gap swim team and will be competing in States for the second consecutive year!

How long have you been swimming? Are there other teams that you swim for?
I’ve been swimming for the past 12 years now, other then Rabun Gap swim team, over the summer I swim with the swim club Vojvodina in Serbia.

What races do you compete in?
I compete in 200 yards IM , 100 yards breaststroke and 100 yards butterfly.

What inspired you to swim?
It’s a really funny story. As a kid I was terrified of water! When my parents would take me to pools and beaches, I wouldn’t dare to come close to the water. However, my brother was a swimmer in high school and and I remember my mom taking me to one of his swim meets and when I saw him swim (fun fact: he came in first in 50 freestyle), I immediately told my mom that I wanted to be a swimmer and learn how to swim. My brother was my biggest inspiration to face my fears and learn how to swim and 11 years later, I am in love with the sport.

What is the best part about competing for the Eagles swim team? 
The best part about competing for the Eagles swim team is the support, encouragement, and help from your teammates. We are all like a family in and outside of the pool. Despite the hard work we all put in at practice we also have so much fun all together.

What has been the most exciting meet so far for you?
My most exciting meet so far was State Swimming Championship my freshman year! I was beyond proud of myself for making States my first year here and I’m hoping to go to States again this year! The meet overall was so much fun! I got to know my teammates and coaches better and I had the support of the whole school!

What led you to come swim at Rabun Gap? 
It was always my dream to come to America for studies and swim in college. My dad came up with the idea for me to go to high school in America as it would be much easier to get into college and also swimming is better here. My parents found an agent who helps students from Serbia pursue their dreams in America and Rabun Gap was the first school he showed me. When I saw the picture of the swim team I just knew that I belong there and that this is the perfect school!

What is the hardest part of being a student-athlete? How has the environment and people here at Rabun Gap helped you? 
The hardest thing about being a student-athlete is definitely keeping up with your studies and being on top of your classes and also doing your best in the sport you love, and also taking care of your mental health. The coaches, faculty members, and my friends and teammates really help me a lot to keep up with all these things and get through hard times and making sure I stay on top of my game by being so encouraging, understanding and helpful in every way possible. I’m so glad to be a part of this community and family!

What makes playing at Rabun Gap special to you?
The one thing that makes swimming at Rabun Gap special is definitely my teammates and the coaches! Everyone is so supportive and encouraging at practice and outside. Also the concept of 1RG means a lot to every student-athlete as we know we have the support from everyone in this community and that means a lot!

What is your favorite thing about your coaches? 
My favorite thing about Coach Kitchens and Coach BySura is that they are not only our coaches but our friends and people we can go to whenever and how supportive they are of the whole team and how much hope they have for all of us!

What do you like to do in your free time? 
In my free time I usually like to go to the weight room or watch movies with my friends in dorm!

What's your favorite class and why?
My favorite class is definitely all girls weightlifting class! I’m so happy to see girls encouraging other girls in the weight room and pushing ourselves beyond our limits. The environment in the class is so fun and wonderful! Also, Coach Hope always makes sure to push us and show us how much we can do and don’t even realize it.

What are your plans for after high school?
My plans after high school is to attend a college in America and hopefully still pursue my dreams with swimming!

What other school activities or organizations/other sports are you involved with?
In the fall I was the assistant coach of Rabun Gap Middle School swim and I had so much fun helping out and sharing my knowledge of the sport I love to our middle schoolers and watch them grow and learn so much about swimming! I really hope that one of them will be my teammates when they get to Upper School! In the spring I do track with Coach Walters and I must say that even though I never did track before I came here I learned so much from Coach Walters and started liking the sport so much!
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.