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Swimming: Splashing to gold – Quartet earns first place in dominating fashion

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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Decatur junior Allie Blevins dove into the pool and immediately put the Lady Eagles in the lead in the final event of the District 6-5A meet Saturday.

STANDING ON TOP – Decatur’s Lizzy Rowden, Madelyn McCloud, Allie Blevins and Jennifer Morehart won the gold medal in the 400 freestyle relay. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“My main focus was to get a big lead,” Blevins said about the 400 freestyle relay.

With every one of her teammates that replaced her in the pool, the Lady Eagles’ lead grew until freshman Lizzy Rowden touched the wall to complete the dominating gold-medal swim in the 400 freestyle relay.

The quartet of Blevins, Jennifer Morehart, Madelyn McCloud and Rowden won the gold medal by nearly 20 seconds over second-place Grapevine, finishing in 4:05.64.

The time was two seconds off their best, but the Lady Eagles voiced few complaints in garnering the gold medal and a spot in the 5A Region II race in Mansfield Feb. 5-6.

“We were a little disappointed dropping two seconds but we got a good place at regionals,” said Blevins after earning her third gold medal of the day.

Decatur coach Brooklyn Huffman expects the team of two juniors and two freshmen to improve their time at regionals.

“With the competition at regionals, they will be even better,” Huffman said.

After Blevins’ strong start, Morehart hit the water.

“I’m always iffy because I swim the breaststroke right before,” Morehart said. “I was aiming for one minute.

By the time Morehart finished her leg, the Lady Eagles owned a six-second lead. McCloud built the lead to 10 seconds.

“I felt good about my leg. Since we had such a big lead, I didn’t feel like I needed to push myself,” McCloud said.

Rowden hit the pool with a comfortable lead. She padded it with 59-second 100.

“It’s fun racing yourself,” Rowden said. “I was trying to push myself.”

The victory closed out a banner day for the Lady Eagles, who finished runner-up at the meet with 117 points.

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