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St. C.’s Marody eyeing podium

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — If you’re talking to St. Clairsville senior Maggie Marody this week, don’t mention that she’s embarking on her final prep swimming meet.

Though the Niagara University signee is fully aware that Wednesday evening in Canton at the Branin Natatorium will be the final time she puts on her Red Devils’ swimming cap, she’s trying to accentuate the firsts that have and could happen still.

The lone senior of the Red Devils’ ‘Fab 5’ who will compete in the OHSAA State Swimming Championship, Marody hasn’t had time to dwell on the last.

“There are lasts for everything, so I am trying to think about the firsts I could have,” Marody said. “I am trying to get in the top eight, which would be the first time, and get a medal, which would be my first. I try not to think about it being my last, but another opportunity to swim at state.”

Interestingly, Marody has already put forth many firsts both this season and in her career.

For instance, she became the first Belmont County female to qualify for four consecutive state meets at last week’s district.

“It’s pretty cool to be the first (female),” Marody admitted. “St. Clairsville hasn’t had a swim team that long and to think that five girls were district runner-up and we’re going in eight events is awesome. When you compare what we’ve done to teams that have so many more girls and the ones who have a pool right down the hall they can go jump in after school, it’s just crazy to think about.”

She won her first district championship last week as part of the 400 freestyle relay and she is qualified to Canton in a personal-best three events.

“It’s really, really cool to have basically a full meet,” Marody said.

The quest for that first medal drives Marody. She doesn’t make any bones about it.

“I think about (winning a medal) all the time,” Marody said. “I’ve been looking at what the girls ahead of me have been doing and whether or not they swam their best time at the district or they didn’t. I would really love to have a state medal, but walking out of there with a new (personal-best) time and a school record would be awesome, too.”

Marody has spent a lot of time since the OHSAA posted the psyche sheets studying the times and putting together her game plan for the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle as well as the 400 free relay.

The 500 free is Marody’s specialty. She’s been to Stark County all four years in the event and finds herself seeded 11th overall, which puts her in the middle of three heats. She touched the wall last week for a runner-up finish with a 5:10.31.

“I want to win my heat to give myself a chance to medal, and I realize I am probably going to have to drop five seconds, which is doable because great times happen in that pool,” Marody said.

In the 200 free, Marody was district runner-up with a 1:56.36 and is seeded 14th, also putting her in the middle of three heats.

“Honestly, when it comes to the 200, I am happy and stoked that I qualified in it,” Marody said. “I was shocked that I am in the middle heat.”

Marody will also swim on the 400 free relay with Casadie DiBetta, Brenna Planey and Kylie McKeegan. That squad qualified by wining the aforementioned district championship with a 3:40.34. That is good for sixth overall and a spot in the hot heat.

“That is a relay that everyone has to come up and be the best they can be and we all came together at district, so I am hoping we can do that again,” Marody said. “If we all come together, I think we have a great chance of getting on to the podium.”

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