Next week, Mallory Comerford will make her professional debut a the 2019 Brazil Trophy, formerly known as the Maria Lenk Trophy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, racing for Club Minas Tenis alongside fellow University of Louisville pro Joao de Lucca, and under the guidance of her coach Arthur Albiero.
In Brazil, Comerford will swim the 50, 100, and 200 meter freestyles, as well as the 50 and 100 meter butterfly, plus whatever relays Minas Tenis needs her for.
The Brazil Trophy, one of two major national championships held in Brazil annually (the other being the Jose Finkel Trophy in short course), is a highly competitive and team-oriented competition packed with both Brazilian and international stars swimming on teams together and against one another. It’s also the team’s selection meet for most major international competitions, including this year, the World Championships. The competition is contested in long course and consists of a prelims/finals format, and is run by the CBDA, Brazil’s national governing body of aquatic sports.
Later this summer in August, Comerford will travel with Team USA to South Korea where she will compete in the 100 freestyle individually, as well as up to four relays, including the mixed 4 x 100 freestyle and medley relays. If her 200 freestyle time in Brazil is fast enough and she is able to maintain momentum throughout the summer, perhaps she could get bumped onto at least a prelims leg of the 4 x 200 freestyle relay, though Comerford did not state that as one of her goals when she spoke to us today.
Last summer at the 2018 U.S. National Championships–the qualifying event for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, and to an extent, the 2019 FINA World Championships–Comerford placed 2nd in the 100 meter freestyle in a time of 53.09, and 7th in the 200 meter freestyle in 1:58.38. In Tokyo, Comerford swam an impressive 52.94 in the 100 freestyle to finish 4th, establishing the 2nd-fastest time of any American woman between both U.S. Nationals and Pan Pacs, qualifying her for the 2019 World Championships in that event. The 200 freestyle, however, did not go as planned, and Comerford failed to advance to the ‘B’ final, where a fast enough time still could have gotten her into 2019 Worlds in that event.
Today, SwimSwam spoke to Comerford about her upcoming racing at the 2019 Maria Lenk Trophy in Rio de Janeiro, set for April 16th-21st.
SwimSwam: Why did you choose to race at Maria Lenk and not a U.S.-based meet like the Richmond PSS?
Comerford: “Joao (de Lucca) is from Brazil, so his club team went to Arthur, who is also from Brazil, and asked if I would be interested in racing for their club for this meet, and I was like, ya know, why not, I think it would be a fun opportunity, just something that I don’t get to do that much. And now that I’m a pro I have a little more flexibility of what I can do, and I think that just right now it’s really important to get some racing in, so whether that was at Richmond, or in Brazil, it was just a good opportunity.”
SwimSwam: What are your goals for Maria Lenk in the 200 free and any other events you might be swimming?
Comerford: “I don’t really have any specific goals, I just really would like to put up a good time since last summer I struggled a little bit with the 200. And so, just going out and racing. And we’ve talked about not worrying too much about my times, just because this is the first long course meet, and coming off of NCAAs, I don’t really know exactly what to expect, but I’m just glad I get to race.”
SwimSwam: Have you begun a dialogue with potential agents and sponsors yet?
Comerford: “Yeah, I have. I think it’s been a process since NCs ended, and I’m just trying to go about it as smart as possible, just collecting information from lots of different people and trying to make the best educated decision for me, and using all my resources wisely.”
SwimSwam: Do you think that if you post any fast swims or world-ranked times that could influence any of your discussions with of those parties?
Comerford: “I don’t think so. I think I’ve developed some good relationships with people I’ve been talking to, and yes, it’s about swimming fast, but right now I think we’re just continuing to develop our relationship, and where I want my career to go and what my goals are, so I think no matter what, those goals are going to stay the same.”
SwimSwam: You tapered for NCAAs, and now you’re tapering again less than a month later–are you worried about too many tapers in a short time period?
Comerford: “In the past, going from Nationals into Pan Pacs, or going from World Trials into Worlds, it’s about the same thing, so we have a pretty solid plan in place, and just trusting the process, I think that’s always–something you have to do—if you start doubting what you’re doing, even for a second, it’s not going to work, so just trusting my coaches and listening to my body. And I have nothing to lose at this meet, so just going out and having fun, and that’s usually when I swim my best.”