Mallory Comerford Drops 53.91 100 LCM Free In Prep For NCAAs
Comerford did not stop there, however. She rode that momentum into the fall of her sophomore year and continued to swim faster every step of the way. She threw down a swift 47.36 in the 100 freestyle at the Big Ten vs. USA College Challenge in November and took it one step further in December, when she came home with three medals (two gold, one silver) at the 2016 Short Course World Championships in Windsor, Canada.
Going into the 2017 NCAA Championships on March 22-25, Comerford holds the second-fastest time in the country in the 100 free (46.75) and third-fastest time in the country in the 200 free (1:41.70), both from the ACC Championships last month.
So how does she prepare for her second NCAAs? By racing in this past weekend's arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis, which is a long-course event compared to the short-course format of NCAAs. Some may scratch their heads at this sort of preparation, but Comerford does not.
"Last year we did the same thing. We were in Nashville for sectionals, and it just worked really well to be able to race again between ACCs and NCAAs," Comerford noted on the rationale behind entering the meet.
"Obviously, this is a great field to be racing against (in the women's 100m freestyle)," she said. "The entire field was filled with Olympians, so getting experience to race against the best in the world is always a good opportunity."
Making the short hour-and-a-half drive from Louisville to Indianapolis paid dividends for Comerford as she dropped a 53.91 on Thursday for a victory in the 100m freestyle, a lifetime best that has to catapult her confidence as she prepares her return to Indy for NCAAs in a short two weeks.
Between Stanford's Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky, Comerford has some stiff competition. But she is putting her blinders on and focusing on the bigger picture this time around.
"(There is) obviously a good field, but I just want to swim my own races, have fun, enjoy the moment with my team, and support my teammates," she said.
The Louisville women finished eighth at last year's NCAA Championships and will need everything Comerford has to climb into the top five.
Check out the full race video of Comerford's 53.91 100m freestyle from the 2017 arena Pro Swim Series at Indianapolis below.
Video Courtesy of USA Swimming