OTTUMWA — Sydney Swallow has been bowling for a long time, pretty much since the day she could walk.
"I really have been seriously bowling for about three years," she said.
Now, in her senior season with the esteemed Ottumwa girls' bowling program, Swallow has a laser-like focus directed at one goal.
"Just bring home the trophy at state," she said.
When it comes to strategy, Swallow opts to keep things simple.
"I just kind of walk up there and throw the ball and I get told where to throw it," she said.
But don't be fooled by the senior bowler's no-frills mindset, Swallow is one of the many solid bowlers that ornament this season's undefeated Bulldog team.
Perhaps the pinnacle of her season thus far came when Swallow shepherded the Bulldogs to a win over Indianola-Des Moines Lincoln by rolling a team-best two-round average of 241. Still, what Swallow enjoys most about the bowling is just going out there and having fun.
Swallow, however, hasn't reached her current skill level without putting in an abundance of work through the years.
"It just takes a lot of practice and it's a lot of muscle memory you have to keep doing over and over," she said.
When all other wells run dry, Swallow looks to her sophomore teammate Bailey Palmer for inspiration.
"I know that sounds really weird with her being younger than me," she said. "I always look at her to stay strong."
As far as memories go, the senior bowler's fondest came on the threshold of Ottumwa competing in the state championship tourney.
"The day before state we all go up there and spend the night in a hotel and we all just have a fun time and that's probably my best memory of it," Swallow said.
To follow Andy Heintz's Twitter feed, go to @CourierAndy
Gimme Four with Sydney Swallow Favorite Sport: Soccer Favorite Movie: Charlie St. Cloud Favorite Book: GONE Series by Michael Grant Favorite Bowler: Bailey Palmer