Zach Hanse breaks own school record at State Swim Meet in Waukesha

For the Tomahawk Leader

WAUKESHA – Tomahawk sophomore Zach Hanse swam in two events at the WIAA State Swim Meet on Friday, Feb. 5, held at the Waukesha South High School Natatorium. Following the State meet, head coach Marion Kohl reflected on the season.

Among the obstacles the Tomahawk Hatchet swimmers had to overcome were COVID-19 protocols, the WIAA shortening the schedule by three full weeks to accommodate its upcoming interim season between winter and spring sports, being limited to only the regular season, and having no dual meets, invitationals, or overnight trips, as well as a small (but mighty, Kohl noted) team of just eight swimmers.

“And then there was quarantine, and no one suffered from that more than sophomore team member Zach Hanse, who went through it all three times over, almost back-to-back,” Kohl explained. “It all started in late fall with the football quarantine, and then just as he was able to return to school and athletics, swim season began on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Three days of practice later, we found out about a close contact situation within the team on Thanksgiving Day, and so upon barely getting started, we were down as a team for another two weeks.”

After returning to practice for only two days as the team was gearing up for its first meets, Hanse was quarantined for the third time. Hanse finally returned to the team on Dec. 28, with his first meet on Jan. 4.

“At that point, in a ‘normal’ year, we would have been in the water already for almost six weeks and had half a season’s worth of meets under our belts,” Kohl stated. “Thankfully, Zach is a focused and hard-working athlete, and despite the obstacles, was able to regain strength and endurance to finish the season strong, beginning with his first-place finish and new GNC Conference record in the 100-yard Breaststroke event.”

Hanse had a pair of second-place finishes in both the 200-yard Individual Medley and the 100-yard Breaststroke at Sectionals with times solid enough to punch his ticket to State last Friday.

“In the 200-yard Individual Medley, Zach’s Sectional time of 2:09.46 had him seeded 15th in the State, and he ultimately went a personal record 2:08.04 in the race on Friday night to finish in 13th place overall,” Kohl said. “In the 100-yard Breaststroke, Zach’s THS school record time of 1:02.66 set at Sectionals had him seeded ninth overall in the event. In a very strong event field, Zach swam a new THS school record time for the second time in two weeks to place 11th in the state with a 1:02.59.”

Kohl said she wanted to congratulate Hanse “for his end of season achievements, gained despite each and every roadblock thrown up in front of him.”

“Zach would also like to give a shoutout and special thanks to his teammates Taje Casey and Caleb Kretzschmar for training with him during the week before the State meet,” Kohl added.

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