Three weeks after finishing fourth in the state in the 200-yard medley relay, Camille Preston and Sydney Mauldin were back in the swimming pool.
That’s where Preston and Mauldin, the two LaGrange High sophomores, feel at home. Mauldin and Preston worked out for two hours and 2,800 yards on Wednesday afternoon at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center in LaGrange.
And after all their laps were done and their practice was over the two friends thought back to the Class AAAAA state swimming meet, which was on the menu from February 4-6 at Georgia Tech. Mauldin and Preston, the two 16 year olds, have few regrets and a lot of memories. Preston and Mauldin also had one high finish to recall in the girls 200 medley relay. Mauldin and Preston teamed up with Lady Granger senior Christine Yin and junior Allie Paschal and finished with a squeaky clean time of 1:49.55.
“We trained hard, and we’re a great combination. We have improved,” said Mauldin.
Last year the LaGrange High girls finished 11th in the 200 medley relay at the state meet. The Lady Grangers are getting more competitive and more serious.
“I’m proud of us. We’re getting stronger, and we’re always working,” said Preston.
According to Mauldin, “We’re training harder, and we’re training more.”
And even when the high school season is over there is something more out there for Mauldin and Preston. What they’re concentrating on now is the short course season with the Troup County Sharks.
Preston and Mauldin have belonged to the local club team for years. And this spring Preston will pitch in and swim the 100-yard breaststroke, the 100 freestyle, the 50 breaststroke and the 50-yard freestyle. Preston has been timed at 59.04 seconds in the 100 freestyle. Her best time in the 50 breaststroke is 32 seconds.
“Swimming season is never over (for me). Success depends on how hard you want to train. Swimming is a continuous cycle, and I want to cut my times,” said Preston.
Mauldin will have a lot on her plate, too, in the club season. Mauldin is scheduled to swim in the 100-yard butterfly, 100 backstroke and the 100-yard freestyle for the Sharks. Mauldin has been on the clock at one minute in the 100 backstroke. Her best time in the 100 freestyle is 56.5 seconds.
In the 100 butterfly, Mauldin has an all-time personal best of 58.5 seconds. She hopes to top that this season. The Sharks have a meet next month in Columbus from March 18-20.
Between now and then Mauldin and Preston will practice five to six times a week at the recreation center. Preston knows the routine, and she certainly knows swimming inside and out, and backward and forward.
“I’ve been swimming since I was two. They just threw me in the water, and I floated,” said Mauldin.
Her LaGrange High and Sharks teammate, Preston, has an extensive swimming background, too.
“I’ve been swimming since I was three,” said Preston. “I couldn’t imagine life without swimming. I work as hard as I can.”
During the club season, Preston and Mauldin are coached by Sharks swimming mentor William Yin. He is a taskmaster and a friend. He is also in charge of the workout schedule. Yin cuts Mauldin and Preston no slack.
And in a way the coach is doing the two girls a huge favor. He really is.
“Swimmers have to deal with pain if they want to accomplish something. It depends on who is willing to take the pain. Working hard is a habit. And swimming is the anchor and the focus (for Preston and Mauldin),” said Yin.
According to the Sharks head coach, “You can’t quit. You need to have an inner motivation.”
Camille Preston and Sydney Mauldin have that. They also have some slim and trim swimming times. Mauldin and Preston are competitors of the championship kind. They don’t have excuses. These two girls have wallto- wall speed.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer