WENATCHEE — Just three days after winning only the second state championship in Wenatchee girls swimming history, Hannah Bruggman was back in the pool Tuesday night for training.
If you ask her why, the newly-crowned Class 4A state champion in the 100 freestyle will tell you she’s not done winning titles.
“I’m hoping to lock down both titles in the 100 and 50 (freestyles next season),” said Bruggman, a junior who also placed second in the 50 freestyle last Saturday at the state meet in Federal Way.
It was only a matter of time before Bruggman won a championship. Wenatchee coach James Elwyn knew he had a title contender on his hands when she joined the program as a freshman in 2010, and she was on the cusp in 2011, finishing second in the 100 and third in the 50 at the state meet.
With her 100 freestyle championship, which she won with a time of 51.71 seconds (0.43 seconds ahead of second-place swimmer Alana Pries of Emerald Ridge), Bruggman broke an 18-year state title drought for the Wenatchee girls swimming and diving program. She also is the Panthers’ first outright champion — Robin Hayes tied for the 100 breaststroke title in 1994.
“It’s an incredible thing to have happen,” said Elwyn, who led the Panthers to a 10th-place in the team standings at last weekend’s meet. “I expected (a state championship) to happen when Hannah came to Wenatchee High School, because she’s such a great competitor and talent. I knew she’d end up with a state title or two.”
The importance of her championship has not been lost on Bruggman.
“I feel pretty honored. It’s definitely some big shoes to step in,” she said. “There are so many emotions — I was pretty relieved, I was happy, excited, thankful, definitely proud that all my hard work had paid off.”
Bruggman, who comes from a well-known Wenatchee Valley swimming family, has been swimming since she was four-years-old and has traveled throughout the country plying her craft.
Even though the prep season is over, there won’t be much of a break for Bruggman — she’ll continue training, will compete for the local Velocity swim club and head to big meets in California and Colorado.
“I’ll have some pretty gruesome training. I go anywhere and everywhere to get training experience,” Bruggman said. “It definitely gets me a step ahead of the game.”
And colleges are beginning to notice — Bruggman has received interest from numerous Division I programs and is already planning to go on recruiting trips.
Even with all the individual accolades she’s piled up, Bruggman was just as pleased with what she and her teammates accomplished last weekend — Wenatchee had all three relays at the state meet, and Bruggman helped the 200 freestyle relay team place third.
“We’ve never had all three relays qualify for state, so that was icing on the cake to the state title,” she said. “It’s a team sport, so it’s more important to look at what the team accomplished. I’m very proud of what we did.”