Oregon senior Claudia Schwartz knew that her time was dwindling to get her name back on the school record board.
She didn’t disappoint in the WIAA Division 1 Milton sectional on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Milton High School. Schwartz qualified for state in two events and broke two school records in the process.
Schwartz, a Minnesota State University-Mankato commit, finished third in the 100-yard backstroke in a school-record time of 59.60 seconds to qualify for state. She broke a 13-year-old record first set by Maddie Schwartz. She also broke the 100 butterfly school record and helped the 200 freestyle relay team qualify for state.
“I have been working all season for this,” Schwartz said after breaking the fly school record. “This has been my No. 1 goal to try to at least break 1 minute and break the record.”
Oregon coach Justin Sawran said it’s hard to qualify for state in Division 1.
“Breaking that record (backstroke) was like the cherry on top,” he said.
Schwartz competed for the Oregon club team last season and didn’t compete in the high school season because of the restrictions on athletes not being able to compete in two overlapping seasons.. She’s excited to be back swimming in her final sectional meet.
“It’s way more motivating to be going against girls that are committing to college for swimming and girls that are my age,” she said. “It’s pushing me a lot harder. I’m sad it’s going to be over.”
Schwartz also took seventh in the 100 butterfly in a school-record time of 58.59 seconds. She broke friend Zoe Rule’s butterfly record that was set last spring. Her time in the fly was about three seconds faster than her seed time, but was 0.14 of a second away from qualifying for state in that event.
“I was so excited for the race and was very nervous,” she said. “My streamline was kind of wonky. It ended up being very good and I’m excited with the time I got.”
Sawran was excited to see Schwartz and her teammates deliver on the biggest stage.
“It’s been frustrating for Claudia because she wants to drop time every meet and break the school record,” Sawran said. “We tried to tell her she wouldn’t drop time every meet. We wanted her to drop time at the end of the season. It was a really big relief. It all paid off.”
The final state-qualifying spot in the 100 butterfly was 58.45 seconds.
“That’s the fastest it’s ever been in state history,” Sawran said. “It’s an event where all of the strong swimmers chose to swim. The fact that time didn't make it to state just shows how deep our sectional was.”
The Panthers’ 200 freestyle relay team of Schwartz, junior Hailey Sieren, freshman Katherine Dunn and junior Noelle Marsh took ninth with a time of 1 minute, 42.38 seconds to qualify for state.
“The fact that we took ninth and still qualified for state highlights how strong our sectional is,” Sawran said.
Oregon finished 11th with 59 points at the 14-team sectional. Middleton outdistanced Madison West 380-345.5 for the sectional team title.
Sieren finished 15th in the 200 individual medley (2:30.13) and 20th in the 100 back (1:07.69). Dunn took 16th in the 100 butterfly (1:02.82) and placed 19th in the 200 free (2:05.97).
“Katie will absolutely crush the next four years,” Schwartz said. “I’m so excited for what she has moving forward and I’m excited for the rest of the team too because we have a new head coach. It’s a lot more motivating. The swimmers are in it to swim and not just to goof around. Times and points are mattering now to them. That’s very happy to see because it’s never been like that before. We finally got our heads in the game.”
Senior Lily Gebauer finished 17th in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.45) and placed 22nd in the 500 free (6:07.50).
Junior Jane Ciambrone took 18th in the 200 IM (2:30.92) and 21st in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.31). Marsh finished 20th in the 100 free (58.60) and 21st in the 50 free (26.59) followed by senior Brooke White who took 25th (27.66). White added a 23rd-place finish in the 100 back (1:08.39).
In the Panthers’ 400 free relay, Ciambrone teamed with freshman Kailey Kochan, Gebauer and White to take 12th (4:13.12).
State meet preview
Claudia Schwartz enters the WIAA Division 1 state meet on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Waukesha, as the 21st seed in the 100-yard backstroke.
She will be looking to improve on her school-record time of 59.60 seconds. She also is on the brink of setting the school record in the 50 free. In her 50 free split in the 200 free relay at the sectional, she swam a 24.85) only 0.35 of a second off Rachel Walsh’s school record, which was set in 2009.
Sawran said the 200 free relay still has time they can drop even in the second week after a taper. He said both Dunn and Marsh were a little away from swimming season-best splits in the sectional.
“I think we have a really good shot of lowering our time in the relay,” Sawran said.
Brookfield East, which is the top seed in seven of the 11 events, is the favorite to win the state title. Middleton, which finished as the state runner-up to Madison Edgewood last spring in the alternate fall season, will be one of the state title contenders along with Madison West.
Brookfield East junior Lucy Thomas is the top seed in the 200 free (1:48.23) and the 100 breaststroke (1:00.85). Senior teammate Abby Wanezek is the top seed in the 100 free (50.20) and 50 free (22.88). Junior teammate Reese Tiltmann is the top seed in the 500 free (4:56.65). Brookfield East also has the No. 1 seed in the 200 free relay (1:33.19) and 200 medley relay (1:42.49). Brookfield East’s Maggie Wanezek is the top seed in the 100 backstroke (52.44).