Having made the transition from novice to veteran over the past three years, Ozark senior Emmy Pierson is ready to set one particular goal for herself for the first time.
“A lot of the girls are more experienced than me,” said Pierson, who started swimming as a freshman. “But the good thing about swimming is if you put in the work, you can catch up fast. I never had State as a goal. Now, though, I honestly feel like if I put in the effort and training, it’s a possibility.”
Pierson figures her best chances at qualifying for State are in the 50 freestyle and the 200 freestyle relay.
Pierson already has found fulfillment in the pool.
“Sometimes, it gets boring going back and forth for two hours. In other sports, you’re not necessarily going back and forth,” she said. “In swimming, you’re basically in the same spot. It’s a challenge. But I like how swimming makes me feel good about myself and the feeling of accomplishment.”
Lady Tigers coach Steve Boyce points to Pierson as a prime example for the rest of the swimmers to follow.
“Emmy has been a great leader,” Boyce said.
Emily Cobb will also be among Ozark’s leaders. She is back after being a state qualifier in the 200 freestyle and relays as a freshman last season. Boyce is optimistic about the level of improvement she will see this season.
“Emily is in a good spot," he said. “Coming into her sophomore season, she knows more about what is going on, how things work and the level of competition. It’s exciting to see what she can do.
“Girls show improvement between their freshman and sophomore years,” Boyce added. “Girls come in pretty close to fully grown at that age. Then, it’s a mental game, ‘How much more can I train and push myself?’ They hone in on their craft and get better.”
Brookelyn Bass, Claire George and Ashley Mallonee also are being counted on among the Lady Tigers’ top swimmers.
Amelia Montgomery joins the Lady Tigers as a freshman diver.
“She has started off well and is making good progress,” Boyce said.
Boyce anticipates relays being an Ozark strength.
“We’ve got good speed,” he said. “We’ll have to find a way to balance things out and make all three relays do well.”