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02-28-04: Local trio finish strong at state

Kelly and Amanda Mallory along with Tyler Post represent Grand Lake area well


CANTON — Celina’s Kelly Mallory was able to lead three area swimmers at the state meet held at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton on Friday.
Mallory swam a fantastic race in the 50-yard freestyle preliminary race on Friday morning to qualify for the finals held later in the evening.
The Bulldogs junior clocked a time of 21.78 in the preliminary round, which was good enough for a ninth-place tie with Andy Gantzer of Cincinnati Oak Hills.
His time was also good enough to give him the Celina school record.
Mallory was just one hundredth of second from qualifying inside the top eight, as Jeff Smith of Mason swam a 21.77 to grab the eighth spot. Two other swimmers swam a 21.70 for the sixth- and seventh-best times in preliminary action.
Unfortunately for Mallory, despite qualifying for the finals, only the top eight swimmers in the preliminary round place at the state meet. Even if he swam the one of the top eight times in the afternoon session, the best Mallory could finish is ninth.
Despite knowing that the best he could finish going into the finals was ninth, Mallory was upbeat about how he performed.
“I’m really excited I made finals,” he said. “My goal was to go a 21.50, but I didn’t really expect to go that time. I at least dropped two tenths of a second, and that’s a big improvement, especially since it’s here at state that I dropped that much time.”
With the pressure seemingly off, Mallory had just one goal for the afternoon session.
“I just want to have fun now, but I really want to improve my time to a mid-21, and I think that’s my goal,” Mallory said before finishing his day later in the finals.
He didn’t quite reach his goal, but he came up with another solid time of 22.14, good enough for a 13th-place finish and all-Ohio honors. The top 16 finishers gain All-Ohio honors.
Mallory joins Celina teammate Sara Knapke who gained all-Ohio honors on Thursday in the one-meter diving. She too finished 13th.
Mallory also swam in the 100-yard butterfly along with Coldwater’s Tyler Post.
Neither Mallory or Post were able to advance to the finals, as Post finished 23rd and Mallory 24th.
Both had to overcome obstacles prior to the race, and their respective coaches said both should be proud of their finishes.
Post had the flu the day prior to the meet, and despite feeling better on Friday morning, it’s likely that he may have lost some of his strength due to the illness.
“It’s the first time for a Coldwater swimmer to be here and we’re all just excited that he’s here,” said Coldwater coach Carla Post. “Even with him being sick yesterday his time of a 54.13 wasn’t real far off what he’s done, and I was real happy with his time considering what he was through yesterday and today with trying to get his energy back. I thought he had a great swim.”
Tyler Post agreed and said while he would have liked to have swam a little faster, he has no regrets about his state championship.
“It wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but like I said before I’m just happy that I made it here,” he said. “Making it here was a great way to end it, next year I’ll be swimming at college so hopefully I can make a big improvement there.”
Post will be attending Ohio University next year.
Mallory also had some adversity to overcome in the 100 butterfly, as he had very little time to regroup and rest after he swam in the 50 freestyle.
“It was pretty rough, but I’m just really tired,” he said with a smile.
“He did it great at districts, but I think today there might have been a little more stress and maybe a faster pace than what there was at districts,” said Celina coach Jane Fleck about Mallory having to swim two races very close together.
Fleck added, “It was a new record for him and a school record, and this is the best I think we’ve ever had anyone from Celina do (at state).”
Amanda Mallory, Kelly’s cousin, also took part in the state competition Friday as she swam in the Division II 50-yard freestyle.
Mallory failed to qualify for Friday afternoons final, but still finished a respectable 19th with a time of 25.70.
“I wanted to go a low 25, I was kind of calm and composed all week long, and I thought I wasn’t nervous until I got up on the block,” Amanda Mallory said.
Mallory said that uneasy feeling may have effected her race, but quickly started talking about how it can only help her during next year, her senior season.
“It was definitely a really good experience, next year I don’t think I’ll be as nervous because I’ll know what to do and I was kind of scared because I didn’t know where to go or what to do, nobody was here to help me but my coaches and they couldn’t be back
there,” she said.
Still, Amanda Mallory said it was a great way to end her season.
“At the beginning of the year I didn’t think I would be here, so it’s a big surprise and it was an honor to be here and be among the top swimmers in the state. To see your name on the back of a T-shirt that says your one of the top 24 in the state is awesome,” Amanda Mallory said. “I’m definitely coming again next year,
maybe even in another individual event, and I hope our
relay (200 medley) makes it since we missed it by one spot
this year.”
Fleck said she couldn’t of been prouder of Amanda Mallory this season.
“Her time was right on, she was only a tenth (of a second) off her best time ever, she is disappointed because she thinks her start might of been a little slow,” Fleck said. “I tried to tell her she moved up from 22nd to 19th, but I think she might have been the
first (female) swimmer we’ve had advance position wise and she has next year to do even better.”
The swimming and diving championships end today, and
St. Marys’ Jaz Craft will be the last area athlete to compete.
Craft will take part in the 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard freestyle preliminary rounds Saturday morning, with the finals taking place around 6 p.m.


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