Brooke Guyer lived on the north side of Springfield for five years and returns there almost on a daily basis to swim at the Springfield Natatorium. But she’s found a home in Ozark.
Guyer and her family moved to Ozark last October and the freshman has made quite a splash for the Lady Tigers. She entered this week’s SWMO finals as the No. 1 seed in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:15.66.
“Since the first day I went to Ozark, I’ve felt like I belong,” said Guyer, who transferred from Summit Prep. “I love Ozark. Everybody is super friendly. It’s a great school. I love the teachers. Public school is more fun, there’s a lot more people to talk to.
“I love everyone on my team,” she added. “It’s almost like a family. We’re great friends and everybody loves to hang out with each other.”
One of the many appeals of attending Ozark for Guyer was the prospect of having Steve Boyce as her coach. Boyce has had great success over the years coaching Glendale, in addition to coaching the Lady Tigers.
“I didn’t know I was going to be swimming for him until August and I was super excited about it,” Guyer said. “My parents would tell me about all the accomplishments of the Glendale teams. I love coach Boyce. He likes to tell us stories from when he was swimming. It’s inspiring to hear all the things he’s done. I love hearing his stories. It helps me envision what I want to do.”
Guyer has been swimming competitively since she was 5 years old. She moved from Lebanon to Springfield when she was 9 and has since been a member of the Springfield Aquatics.
During her formative years, she initially wouldn’t have guessed the 200 IM would become her niche.
“It’s my event, but I used to not like it at all,” Guyer said. “It’s a tough race and takes a lot of energy. I used to be a breast stroker. I was about 13 when I realized I had potential in the IM. When I started to do good at it, I realized it was my thing and I actually enjoy swimming it now.
“A while back, I kept having to do the 400 IM,” she added. “I didn’t like that at all. It made me not appreciate the IM. In high school, 400 IM is not even an option. So, it was nice to focus on the 200 IM and that only. After my coaches started making me do the 200 IM, I got better at it.”
Guyer set a COC record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:17.
Guyer was the third seed entering the SWMO finals in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:01.74.
“I love it. If I had to choose to swim something for fun, I would probably choose the 100 back,” she said. “Randomly in the summer of 2019, I went to a summer state (meet) in the 50 back and all of a sudden I thought, ‘Wow, I like it.’”
Guyer also has had success teaming with Claire George, Katie Coleman and Jenabelle Justice in the 400 freestyle relay. They were the third seed going into the finals with a 3:51.05.
“We’re hoping we can swim well at State and drop our time, that’s our objective,” Guyer said. “With the right determination and mindset, we can do really well.
“I was hoping to have a good year, but I didn’t think it was going to go this well,” she added. “It’s been a great year.”