The queen of distance swimming will be remembered as one of the Valley Oak League’s greatest competitors.
Mallory Brubaker completed a banner four-year run at Ripon High with a VOL record, two CIF State consideration times at the Sac-Joaquin Section Swim and Dive Championships, and The Bulletin’s All-Area Girls Swimmer of the Year award for a second time.
“It’s an honor, honestly, because there are so many good swimmers out here; there’s a lot of competition,” Brubaker said. “It’s an honor to be named one of the best and I appreciate it.”
Brubaker takes top honors in a region teeming with talent for her body of work and time in the pool.
As a 500-yard freestyle specialist and a member of two award-winning relays, few spent as much as time in the pool as Brubaker, a Manteca Dolphin and Ripon Aquatics alumna.
“It takes determination and an open mind,” she said of the 500. “You’ve got to want to do the distance. Some might say, ‘Oh, it’s too much. I can’t handle it.’ It takes an open mind and putting yourself out there.”
The Cal Baptist University recruit captured the VOL title in the 500 freestyle, crisscrossing the pool at Oakdale High in 5 minutes, 19.24 seconds.
She shaved nearly 14 seconds during the preliminary round at the section championships, posting a CIF State consideration time of 5:05.61. It was nearly a career best.
She was unable to duplicate that swim during Saturday’s final, though, and finished sixth with a 5:08.98.
“I put too much pressure on myself in the finals,” she said, “but overall, I’m pretty satisfied with how I did.”
Brubaker also flirted with an invitation to the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships at Clovis High in the 200 freestyle relay.
Along with Elizabeth Wenner, Amber Scheid and Chloe Winter, Brubaker helped the Indians’ relay touch the wall in 1:40.91, good enough for eighth place.
In the 400 free relay, the Indians placed fourth at sections, improving upon their record swim at the VOL Championships in Oakdale.
Ripon touched the way in 3:40.05, more than three seconds faster than their relay at Oakdale High. Brubaker credited the quartet’s special bond for their success as a relay — and a team. Ripon captured the boys and girls VOL titles, despite being the smallest school in the conference. It’s the fourth straight league championship for the girls team.
“We’re all really, really close friends,” said Brubaker, who will join former club teammates Scott Tolman (Sierra) and Christian Britton (Gregori) at Cal Baptist.
“At school we eat lunch together and hang out in between classes. To do well and swim on these relays together, it’s an opportunity I’m grateful we had.”
James Burns has covered high school and collegiate sports in the Central Valley for the last 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @jburns1980.
Meghan Tolman, Sierra So.
Alyssa Trejo, Manteca Sr.
Elizabeth Wenner, Ripon Jr.
Amber Scheid, Ripon So.
Chloe Winter, Ripon Sr.