Colorado State Champ Zara Zallen Switches Commitment from Utah to Missouri


By Riley Overend on SwimSwam

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Boulder High School (Colo.) senior Zara Zallen has flipped her college commitment from the University of Utah to the University of Missouri for this upcoming fall.

“As I got older and evolved as a swimmer, Missouri became a better fit to accomplish my goals,” said Zallen, who decommitted from Utah last November after originally committing in October of 2021.

Zallen is coming off her lone season of high school swimming, which she capped off with a Colorado Class 5A state championship in the 200 free (1:48.58). It was the first individual title by a Boulder High swimmer in nine years. She also earned a runner-up finish in the 100 free (49.84).

“Zara is the best girls swimmer I’ve coached at Boulder, and she is definitely one of the best swimmers I’ve coached, period,” Boulder coach Emily Sampl told BoCoPreps.

Zallen, who trains with Loveland Swim Club, said she wanted to compete at the high school level for her final season to be with her sister, Sloan, who just wrapped up her sophomore campaign at Boulder. During her brief high school career, Zallen ended up breaking four individual school records in the 50 free (22.83), 100 free (49.48), 100 breast (1:05.34), and 200 free (1:48.58) while adding two relay records in the 400 free (1:36.78) and 200 free (3:31.50).

Best Times (SCY)

  • 50 free – 22.83
  • 100 free – 49.38
  • 200 free – 1:47.11
  • 500 free – 4:50.18
  • 100 breast – 1:01.45

In the almost two years since initially committing to Utah, Zallen has seen her biggest time drops in the 200 free and 100 breast, improving by about three seconds in each event. With a lifetime best of 1:47.11, she’s slated to be Missouri’s top 200 freestyler next year with fifth year Molly Gowans (1:46.07) recently exhausting her collegiate eligibility. Zallen would have only been about a second outside of B-final range at the 2023 SEC Championships.

The Missouri women placed 11th out of 12 teams at the 2023 SEC Championships. Head coach Andrew Grevers has been leading both Tigers programs for the past four seasons.

Zallen’s decision to switch from the Pac-12 to the SEC will likely mean tougher competition during her college career. The SEC is set to get even tougher in 2024 with Texas joining the conference.

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SwimSwam: Colorado State Champ Zara Zallen Switches Commitment from Utah to Missouri

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