Bretschneider was in the fast lane this season
by Aaron Garcia
The thing about swimming pools is they can make it difficult to tell when someone is sweating. But make no mistake, by the 22nd event of the Class 3A state swimming and diving championships on Feb. 9, Lane Bretschneider certainly was.
Through his three previous events, the Marvin Ridge junior had just missed on three gold medals. His 200-yard medley relay team finished a little more than two seconds out of the top spot, while his effort of 1 minute, 55.42 seconds in the 200 individual medley was half a second short of another win. In his third event, Bretschneider swam a blistering anchor split of 21.81 seconds, but his 6-foot-3 frame touched the wall just two-tenths of a second behind the winner.
That kind of performance alone probably would’ve made a strong case for Bretschneider to be named Union County Weekly’s 2011-12 Boys Swimmer/Diver of the Year on its own. But Bretschneider said he wasn’t satisfied without a win, and he had one last chance to grab gold in the 100 breaststroke.
“It was kind of frustrating at that point, coming away with three second-place (finishes) and coming up just short in three straight events,” Bretschneider said. “I just told myself I was not going to lose the last one.
“It put more pressure on it, for sure. The thought even crossed my mind: ‘Can I even do this at this point?’ I just told myself, ‘No, I can definitely do this’ and that I was going to do it.”
And do it he did, finishing first in 59.92 seconds, making him the only Class 3A swimmer at the meet to finish the event in less than a minute. The win also made Bretschneider the only boys state champion in Union County.
“I kind of willed myself to win there,” Bretschneider said. “It was pretty cool.”
Bretschneider began making a name for himself last season when he recorded third- and seventh-place finishes at the state meet as just a sophomore. But this season, with state championship experience, he began the season with heightened expectations, both external and self-imposed. And just as with the pressure surrounding the 100 breaststroke, Bretschneider excelled.
“It was fun, actually,” said Bretschneider. “Some people feel the pressure (from a situation such as) that, but I welcomed the pressure, actually. I felt I could find myself in a leadership role this year, and that was a lot more fun, too, being able to guide the team along and eventually doing pretty well at states.”