Ozark’s 200 medley relay returns intact from last season, triggering expectations that include the Lady Tigers making their way back to State this season and reaching the finals.
“Not many teams have the same relay as last year,” senior Ashley Mallonee said. “We’ll probably do the same order, too since it worked perfectly for us last year. Everyone knows their role, so I think we’ll we’ll be really good.”
Ozark was 19th at State. Of the top 18 teams in the medley relay, 15 lost at least one swimmer to graduation.
“Since it’s the same four of us, we’re panning on going back to State and bettering our times,” added junior Emily Cobb. “The medley relay plays to each of our strengths.”
The medley relay consists of each stroke — butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Claire George leads the relay and swims the butterfly, Brookelyn Bass handles the backstroke, Mallonee the breaststroke and Cobb swims freestyle as the anchor.
The foursome recorded a time of 1:57.4 in prelims at State. The cut to make the finals was 1:55.6.
The Lady Tigers hope their attitude can take them a long way.
“We’re going to have a positive attitude, work hard throughout the year and go get that State cut,” Bass said.”We’re pretty good at motivating each other. We’ll be each other’s hype man.”
“Brookelyn and Ashley always get us excited and prepare for each meet,” George said. “We’re always positive with each other.”
Individually, George was 10th at State in the 100 freestyle (54.45) and 19th in the 100 backstroke (1:02) last season.
“I didn’t know what to except as a freshman,” George said. “I was nervous. Now that I know what to expect, I think I can work harder. I feel stronger and more prepared.”
Ozark’s boys and girls swimmers were thrilled to see the Tigers’ Caleb Chrestman record a third-place finish in the 100 freestyle and a fourth-place finish in the 50 freestyle at State this fall.
“He put Ozark on the board,” Bass said. “It boasts our confidence.”
“Knowing Caleb did good, I think we can do good, too,” Mallonee said.
Ozark opens its season at the Springfield All-Relays Meet on Thursday.