Mallory Harris often makes winning races look easy.
But Silverado’s girls swim team captain didn’t become a prolific breaststroke champion overnight.
“Sophomore year, I started really deciding that swimming was what I wanted to do and that I really wanted to get better at it,” Harris said.
Now a senior, Harris can chart her progress into becoming one of the nation’s elite. The Brigham Young signee will compete for the Skyhawks for the last time when she leads Silverado into the state meet, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at UNLV’s Buchanan Natatorium.
Harris won Sunrise Region titles last week in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 5.48 seconds, and the 200 individual medley in 2:09. She also will compete at the state meet with Silverado’s 200 medley relay, which took third at the Sunrise meet in 1:53.39.
Harris won last year’s state title in the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.13 and was second in the 100 butterfly in 56.35. This year, she’s the top seed for the state meet in the 100 breaststroke and No. 3 in the 200 individual medley.
“Mallory can swim anything. She’s so versatile that I can put her in any race at any time, and she can be an asset to any relay that she’s on,” Silverado coach Carolyn Battin said.
Harris said Mike Polk, her club coach with Boulder City-Henderson Heatwave, played a key role in her development into a BYU recruit. Polk praised Harris’ inner drive.
“The last two years, she’s really focused on becoming an elite-level athlete, and a big part of that was improving her strength,” Polk said. “She did a great job improving her strength and then her focus in practice, on her skills and her effort level. I feel like she’s just scratched the surface.”
“Maybe when I first met (Harris), when she was a freshman, she was an excellent swimmer, but it may have been more social for her at that time,” Battin said. “I think as the years progressed, she realized her potential, and then with the excellent coaching of Mike Polk, she has just blossomed.”
Harris improved through a mix of strength training and attention to detail.
“Mainly just my stroke, I tried to get faster. Just the timing of the stroke, making sure that everything’s going when it should be,” she said.
The soft-spoken Harris called it “the best” feeling to share the state meet with teammates. She’ll swim the 200 medley relay along with Gabriella Graham, Marie Hosono and Soleil Salazar.
Harris also is a standout student with interest in pre-law studies. Battin said replacing a role model in and out of the pool won’t be easy.
“She’s been a great asset to the team the last four years because she can get in the water and actually show what I might be teaching on deck,” Battin said. “So that part’s really fun, and the girls look up to her.”