Girls Swimming: Tinley Park’s Schultz no one-hit wonder
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 20, 2013 8:30PM
Tinley Park's Hannah Schultz | Vincent D. Johnson/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 22, 2013 6:17AM
Hannah Schultz had some clearing up to do.
The Tinley Park star senior swimmer was not in fact a college student.
“It was freshman year, and then I woke up and it was senior year,” Schultz said with a laugh. “To even think I’m a senior, it’s crazy. A lot of people have asked ‘Hey, didn’t you graduate?’ No, I’ve still got another year.”
So go the perks of a star swimmer who burst onto the scene as a freshman, finishing 11th in the state in the 100-yard butterfly.
In her sophomore and junior years, Schultz qualified for the state meet in two events each year but failed to advance out of the preliminaries to either the consolation or championship heat.
That thought definitely is on the Tinley Park senior’s mind with her last shot at the state meet less than a month away.
“Consciously, deep down, you know that freshman year never goes away,” Schultz said. “You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.”
To her credit, the pressure has not overwhelmed Schultz. She’s aware of it, even thinks of it, but she simply doesn’t let it get to her too much. Just like swimming at the chaotic state meet, it is all a matter of staying under control.
“If you’re working your hardest, and I’ve been working my butt off, that’s what you do,” Schultz said. “It’s my senior year. I’m going to have fun. I’ll swim as hard as I can and see where it takes me.”
Schultz’s presence on a young Tinley Park team has been key for the Titans. With only 21 girls on the squad, the senior is the team’s only captain. Tinley Park is the two-time defending South Suburban Blue champion.
“Hannah is really working with her teammates to get a relay to state,” Tinley Park coach Lucy Witkowski said. “She is so focused herself, but she has been getting the other kids up, too. Hannah really gets the girls pumped up, and the times are dropping.”
Having been to state all three years, swimming in five events over those years, Schultz’s motivation is simple. She wants some company courtesy of the relay team.
“It’s hard, and we’ve never had a relay go downstate,” Schultz said. “I really believe we can get a relay downstate. We just have to all put in the work and the effort.”
Individually, her goals remain high. Come Nov. 23 at New Trier High School, host of the state meet, Schultz wants some hardware around her neck.
Call it a gut feeling.
“There’s that little thing inside of you where you just know it’s going to happen,” Schultz said. “I want to place, and I want to place in both events. I’m dead set on it. I’m going to qualify. I can feel it, so hopefully it happens.”