2018 News-Sentinel.com Girls Swimmer of the Year: Mallory Jackson of Carroll High School
Monday’s are hard enough to embrace, let alone if you have commitments from sun-up to sun-down.
If only it were that easy for Carroll High School sophomore Mallory Jackson.
By sun-up, Jackson is already wrapping up the first of three workout sessions for the highly-successful Charger swim team, and by sun down she is fighting through the dull throb of fatigue in the weight room.
It is that type of diligence and dedication that has resulted in Jackson being named as the 2018 News-Sentinel.com Girl Swimmer of the Year.
“I think that you will find,” veteran Carroll coach John Gibson told News-Sentinel.com, “that she is Swimmer of the Year because of that type of commitment.”
Jackson sets a pace for her daily existence that few teenagers – anywhere – can comprehend.
Monday’s are the most grueling for the Carroll swimmers, both boys and girls, due to the two swim workouts, which are followed by a strength-training session. It is the only day of the week in which Gibson schedules three sessions, but the rest of the week isn’t exactly easy either.
In addition to her physical training, also mixed in for Jackson is a full day of school, as well as an evening of homework, neither of which get disregarded in any way.
“I think of my title as a student-athlete,” Jackson said. “I equally focus on swimming and school. Colleges will be looking at my grades and my swimming. I can’t just be good in swimming and have terrible grades. I have to balance both.
“Time management for swimmers is huge.”
The management of time and the focus on pace are characteristics that have been emphasized by Jackson and Gibson in life and in the pool, particularly over the past 12 months.
As a freshman, Jackson made a figurative splash onto the state swimming scene by placing in the top 10 at the IHSAA State Finals in Indianapolis in the maximum allowable four events (two relays and a pair of individual events). However, Jackson didn’t advance to the finals (top eight places) in either individual event.
Something had to change.
“We revaluated my tempo,” Jackson explained of her arm rotational speed. “It was a lot slower than it should have been. Comparing it to other really great swimmers, we reevaluated and changed everything.”
Like her life, that involved attention to detail and balance.
A swimmer can speed up their arm rotations, but in doing so lose efficiency in their ability to capture the water for a strong pull. Gibson and Jackson had to analyze how to get the best of both worlds and have speed and strength.
“You have to increase the tempo without really losing efficiency,” Gibson explained.
The result of that work paid massive dividends.
Jackson lowered her time in the 100 back by 1.68 seconds. To put that in perspective, that is over half of a body length.
At the elite level of this sport, athletes improve in increments of tenths of a second in such a short distance, not 1.68 seconds.
Jackson’s time in the recent state meet dropped to 54.47, which allowed her to improve from 10th in 2017 to second this season.
Not only was her tempo increased, but the 12 months of arduous conditioning paid off over the final 50 yards of the race, as well. Jackson was the fastest swimmer over the final two lengths in the entire race.
Only Zionsville senior Tessa Wrightson (54.02) kept Jackson from the top of the podium.
Earlier in the meet, there was an indication that Jackson was headed for a strong back race.
In the 200 IM event, she lowered her 2017 time from 2:03.01 to 2:01.96, almost exclusively due to a backstroke leg that was nearly a full second (30.70 to 29.76) faster than the year prior.
Jackson was seventh following the opening leg of butterfly, and still in sixth place heading into the final 50 yards of freestyle. Once again, her training showed.
Jackson brought the freestyle leg home in 28.13 seconds (second fastest in the race) to finish fifth, which brings her to 2019.
“I want her to be the best IMer in the state,” Gibson said.
In order to achieve that, Jackson has to strengthen her weaknesses.
“Fly and breast,” Jackson said succinctly.
“Those will be the main focus,” Jackson continued. “For state competition, my fly and breaststroke are not where they need to be.”
Gibson put together a pair of relays (200 and 400 free relays) that placed third and seventh, respectively, and both were anchored by Jackson.
“She is very naturally gifted,” Gibson said of Jackson, “and been blessed with a God-given ability to start with and definitely has a good goal-oriented attitude.”
2018 NEWS-SENTINEL.COM ALL-AREA GIRLS SWIM TEAM
• Jackie Brenn – Homestead, junior (second in state in diving)
• Mallory Walker – Homestead junior (sixth, diving)
• Kayla Luarde – Homestead, senior (seventh, diving)
• Audrey Crowel – Homestead, freshman (ninth, 200 free)
• Maggie Stock – Homestead, freshman (fourth, 100 free)
• Avery Brooks – Carroll, junior (14th, 50 free)
• Teagen Moon – Carroll, freshman (ninth, 100 fly)
• Mya VanderHagen – Carroll, sophomore (13th, 100 fly)
• Lily Kaiser – Homestead, freshman (17th, 500 free)
• Laura Wright – Bishop Dwenger, sophomore (12th, 100 breast)
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