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Plainwell swimming star remains focused on Olympic dreams

The swimming star has returned to the pool following a pandemic induced layoff.
Credit: Associated Press
The swimming star has returned to the pool following a pandemic induced layoff.

Mallory Comerford is back in the water and she couldn’t be happier.

“Just that feeling and that appreciation is so great right now, it just reminds me of why I love to swim and why I love what I’m doing,” she explains.

It was the reunion she was waiting for because for months the University of Louisville grad wasn’t doing much of anything due to the ongoing pandemic. Heading into the summer, the Kalamazoo native was on target for a spot on the US Olympic swimming team and then suddenly, everything was put on hold.

“This one day, we came into practice,” she remembers, “coach pulled us aside and was like it’s happening, it’s canceled.”

Well, at least for this summer it is. Currently, the International Olympic Committee has the Tokyo summer games rescheduled for summer 2021. The 22-year-old Plainwell high school grad is optimistic it’s going to happen but she also knows there’s a chance it might not.

“The Olympics are about bringing the world together and they want everyone to participate so I think it becomes really tricky," she said. 

So in the meantime, Comerford will keep training. Because whether it’s 2021, or 2024, she knows her Olympic dreams are not over by a long shot.

“I feel like at a really good point in my life,” she says proudly. “Another year is just another year for me to get better.”

Now it’s considered a step back, but one day looking back, the extra year of preparation might end up working in Comerford’s favor.

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