Maureen McCotter doesn't spend half of her life in the water. Sometimes it just seems that way.

McCotter, a senior at Bishop Eustace Prep, swims about 21-22 hours a week. She jumps in the pool with her teammates at the Jersey Wahoos club for a two-hour workout every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:40 a.m.

She has more Wahoos workouts after school, as well as practices and meets with the Bishop Eustace team. She has another long workout with her club team on Saturday mornings.

Fittingly, McCotter's best events are those that involve the longest amount of time in the water. She is the defending state champion in the 500-meter freestyle in a time of 4 minutes, 56.65 seconds.

McCotter, a Cherry Hill resident, has committed to attend Princeton next year and swim for the Tigers.

Last season, she led Bishop Eustace to the South Jersey title in Non-Public B.

Question: Do you ever have a hard time making such a commitment to swimming?

Answer: At first it was a hard adjustment. But now I'm used to it. It's my way of life. I know I have to have everything scheduled and make the best use of my time. But I love it. It's my choice.

Q: Is the 500 your favorite event?

A: It is in high school. I also like the mile and the 1,000, but those aren't high school events. It seems like the longer I'm swimming, the better I do.

Q: Why Princeton?

A: It's everything I wanted in a college. I took a trip there and met some of the girls on the team, and I just knew I had to go there.

Q: Did you seriously consider any other schools?

A: I also considered Notre Dame and Northwestern. They are both great schools, but Princeton just seemed perfect for me.

Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your athletic career?

A: Definitely my parents [John and Anne]. They've sacrificed so much for my swimming. They never forced me but they've always been there for me.

Q: What's the outlook for the Bishop Eustace team this year?

A: We're excited. We lost to Haddonfield [86-84] the other day, and we swam great. I was so proud of everybody. We're going to try to go as far as we can, hopefully win South Jersey again and maybe win states this time.

Three stars from last week

1. Nick Iraldi won a tough match with Paxtin Burgin at 145 pounds to help the West Deptford wrestling team open its dual-meet season with a 33-18 victory over St. Augustine Prep.

2. Jasmine Martin went for 31 points and 10 rebounds as Timber Creek beat Woodrow Wilson, 59-35, in girls' basketball.

3. Tyree Atkins collected 12 points and 12 rebounds as Deptford upset Williamstown, 60-56, in overtime in boys' basketball.

Three tips for this week

1. Haddonfield hosts the Capt. Ronald Bond Duals in wrestling Wednesday. The eight-team tournament honors the memory of a former standout Haddonfield wrestler in the 1960s who was killed in action in Vietnam.

2. Defending South Jersey Group 3 champion Kingsway plays defending Group 4 state champion Lenape in the Lenape Showcase Tournament in boys' basketball Wednesday at 7 p.m.

3. Cherry Hill East hosts Camden in a good girls' basketball game Saturday at 2 p.m.

Super Seven power rankings

1. Camden Catholic wrestling (0-0): Freshman T.J. Miller is making an immediate impact for the Irish.

2. St. Augustine Prep swimming (3-0): The Hermits' schedule includes a Jan. 8 visit to Peddie School. That non-NJSIAA program snapped St. Augustine's 33-match winning streak last year.

3. Cherokee boys' basketball (2-0): This looks like a big year for 6-foot-9 senior Ryan McKeaney, a Vermont recruit.

4. Gloucester Catholic ice hockey (4-0): The Rams host rival Bishop Eustace on Jan. 6 at Hollydell.

5. Eastern wrestling (1-0): Senior 160-pounder Preston Keiffer is off to a fast start for a Vikings team that faces a big challenge Saturday at home against Jackson.

6. Haddonfield girls' swimming (3-0): The Bulldogs rolled to a 103-67 victory over a good Eastern team the other night.

7. Eastern girls' basketball (3-0): Senior forward Nia Blevins had 10 points in a solid win over Camden Catholic.

Under consideration: Camden Catholic boys' basketball, Cherokee girls' basketball, Paulsboro wrestling, Cherry Hill West girls' swimming.

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223

or panastasia@phillynews.com.