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Ready to take the next step

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Lexie Malazdrewicz signs on to swim at USC, gets ready for senior year at EHS

By Chelsy Woods Klein

Sometimes a dream starts out as one person’s aspiration but turns into the hopes and goals of everyone around them. Tears of pride streamed down the faces of friends, family, teachers and coaches as Evergreen High School senior Lexie Malazdrewicz signed her letter-of-intent to swim for the University of Southern California on Nov. 14.
Her dream to be an elite swimmer had outgrown her and transformed into a dream of an entire community who has stood behind her and watched her grow.
“She has always been very driven, but initially she didn’t want to be a swimmer. She was a soccer player and thought that was her sport,” Malazdrewicz’s mother, Freda Malazdrewicz, said. “She is such a ground-breaker.”
After moving to Colorado years ago, Freda and her husband, Keith, thought that joining a summer swim team would help their kids make friends, so they chose the Evergreen Hurricanes. Initially, the coaches were hesitant about the Malazdrewiczs joining since neither Lexie, nor her brother, had competitive swimming experience. But Freda and Keith insisted that both their kids would do fine and the rest is history.
Like many elite athletes, Malazdrewicz has a certain something when she is in the water. A mixture of drive and effortless talent mixed so thoroughly that it is almost impossible for people to not notice her.
Actually, people taking notice of her is something that doesn’t sit easy with Malazdrewicz. She blushed and asked, “Is everyone going to be watching?” as the crowd amassed, cameras ready, flowers and balloons in hand for her signing. The tears she saw in others made her misty-eyed. 
She is the kind of swimmer and student who people respect because she is a hard worker, dedicated to improving herself for the betterment of her team. But the road hasn’t always been easy.
The summer of 2011 brought shoulder problems and a growth spurt which made Malazdrewicz feel out of sync with her body. The physical changes translated into mental blocks and anxiety.
Working with a trainer outside the pool, modifying her nutrition and getting highly-specialized  training at SwimLabs helped Malazdrewicz adjust to her changing body and take her swimming to the next level. 
No longed did she feel disjointed in the pool, nor was she mentally blocked. Instead, she became more determined than ever to swim harder, set records and go to the U.S. Olympic trails in Omaha, Neb.
Malazdrewicz is a three-time all-conference selection and has won six state championships, be it individually or part of Evergreen High’s relay teams. But 2011 was a true standout year. She was named the Canyon Courier’s Athlete of the Year and won three of those state titles in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay. She helped Evergreen to a second-place team finish in the 4A state championships.
“I am so proud and excited,” Evergreen head coach Jeanne Godaire said. “I’m proud that Evergreen is producing such great swimmers. We have a great future in the community when it comes to swimming. It’s amazing to see how much hard work they put in.”
Godaire said that she is most excited to see where Malazdrewicz’s passion for swimming takes her. 
“I’m looking four years ahead to see what she can do at the next (U.S.) trials. I’m hoping for that for her that she can place in the Olympics. That’s the dream I think, but college swimming is so much fun, and I am excited for her for that because I know how much I enjoyed it,” Godaire said.
As they sit back and watch their daughter prepare to enter her final year of high school and then go off to college, Keith and Freda Malazdrewicz are as excited as any parent could be.
“She is so independent. I asked her if she wanted me to go with her (to tour) USC and she was adamant that she wanted to go alone,” Keith said.

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EVERGREEN COUGARS
Head coach: Jeanne Godaire
Assistant coaches: Angie Harrington, Liz Hudd, Megan Bowser
Classification: 4A Jeffco
Swimmers to watch: Lexie Malazdrewicz, Sr., 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle; Myriah Ariza-Balter, Sr., 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke; Lindsay Morrow, Soph., 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 200 IM
Season opener: Nov. 30, vs. Golden, Wulf Recreation Center
State championships: Feb. 8-9, Veterans Memorial Acquatic Center, Thornton
Outlook: “Our team has a lot of depth, so we are set to do well at league and state,” Godaire said.
Quotable: “Our goal is to win league, that is what the girls and I have been talking about and we would like to place in the top five in state,” Godaire said.
— Chelsy Woods Klein