The size of the pond for Waukesha South/Mukwonago swimmer Abby Jagdfeld changed over the offseason when she competed at the United States Olympic Swimming Trials in Nebraska, but now that she's back in Wisconsin, she's one of the biggest fish.
The junior, who was a huge component of last fall's state championship team, shared a pool with some swimmers who became household names at the recently completed 2012 Olympics in London. She took a picture with Missy Franklin, who won four golds and a bronze at the Games.
"She's just a year older and about a foot taller," Jagdfeld said. "That was really inspiring (to see her at the Olympics). I did about as well as I was expecting to."
Jagdfeld swam 2:05.17 in the 200-meter freestyle, taking 83rd. It was excellent considering she had just qualified for the Trials with the necessary time one weekend earlier.
"It was a little overwhelming," she said. "You had to have an ID card to go anywhere, to get into the ready room, before you swam. You had to hand your ID (to an official) before you could get on the blocks. They would hold it for you and give it back to you as you get back."
It was the highest-level event Jagdfeld had been to, traveling with two other Waukesha Express swimmers and coach Blaine Carlson, who also happens to be her high-school coach with the Blackshirts. Last year, Jagdfeld took second in the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.89), third in the 100 (51.70), took second with the 200 free relay and led off the title-winning 400 free relay (3:28.61), which clinched South's first-ever state championship.
"That was so amazing, just that whole moment," she said. "I'm so glad I got to be on that relay."
She won't be the only key swimmer returning as the co-op looks to repeat the task. "I think they're looking forward to it, and we'll focus on ourselves and see whathappens at the end the year," Carlson said.
Carlson acknowledges there's no replacing two-time butterfly state champion Kayla Skenandore, who also took third in the 50 free last year, but he does have several elite backstrokers and freestylers. He is excited to see Muskego, a squad that has three straight top-fivefinishes in the state meet, arrive in the Classic 8 Conference, creating an additional strain on team depth at the conference meet for league heavyweights South/Mukwonago and Arrowhead.
Jagdfeld becomes the early favorite to win the 200 free state title with the graduation of Muskego phenom Sami Pochowski. But Jagdfeld pointed out that there is always a new crop of talented freshmen ready to compete for top honors right away.
She also trains side-by-side with teammate Molly Manchon, who finished one spot behind Jagdfeld in both freestyle events last year at the state meet.
Other contributors on last year's state team expected back are Lizzy Baertlein, Kaersten Meitz, Natalie Clausen, Addison Skogman, Madeline Farrell, Megan Andersen and Brooke Jakobi. Mukwonago's Sara Zemanovic, who scored points at state in the 200 free, 100 free and served on the 400 free relay, joined Skenandore in graduation.