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Malazdrewicz, Cougars start, finish meet in commanding fashion

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By Will Petersen
For the Courier
The meet was long since over, but one swimmer remained in the pool. Evergreen senior Lexie Malazdrewicz seemingly effortlessly continued to glide back and forth across the water as Wulf Recreation Center emptied out. 
“I have a morning (club) practice tomorrow. I just had to do a little more warming down and loosen up for it,” Malazdrewicz said of her extra time in the pool after another Lady Cougars victory. 
The USC-bound Malazdrewicz was once again one of the stars of the meet and won, or helped win, all three events she competed in, as Evergreen scored a 160-58 win over Green Mountain on Dec 14. 
The meet started, and ended, with Malazdrewicz leading off relays and staking her team to huge leads. In fact, in the final race of the night — the 400-meter freestyle relay — Malazdrewicz was half a pool length ahead of her nearest competition after her leg of the race. 
“It’s all for the team. I don’t think about it that much, it’s just something that happens,” a modest Malazdrewicz said. “As long as I score points for the team it’s good.” 
Also helping ensure those points were Evergreen senior Myriah Ariza-Balter. The Ohio commit anchored the last relay and helped Evergreen win by a full pool length. Malazdrewicz, Josie Pearson, Kamryn Holland, and Ariza-Balter clocked in with a time of 3 minutes, 54.91 seconds, winning the race by more than 15 seconds. 
Ariza-Balter is in her first year of high school swimming. Ariza-Balter, who also won the 200 individual medley by more than 10 seconds, decided to swim for both her club and Evergreen High this year and is happy with her decision. 
“We’re a lot closer. We’re all on the deck and everyone is getting up and cheering each other on for every race. At the club meets that doesn’t really happen,” Ariza-Balter said. 
The united team is more than just the two superstars as well. Evergreen won all 12 events and placed first and second in nine of them. With winter break looming and a long time potentially out of the pool, Evergreen head coach Jeanne Godaire hopes the whole team will continue to train. 
“If they take two weeks off there is no way they’ll do their best times at the end of the season,” Godaire said. “We provide some optional practices for them so there is no excuse for them not to be training.”