Springfield High School swimmer Maddie Shaffer wants to close out her final high school season in the same place she wrapped up her freshman season — on the state podium.
The Wildcats senior qualified to the state swimming and diving meet in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. Shaffer placed fourth in butterfly (:54.99) for a personal-best time and fifth in the 200 free (1:50.49) at the girls Division I district meet at Miami University on Saturday — seeding her fifth and sixth, respectively, heading into the D-I state meet Friday.
The four-time state qualifier swam her way to the podium with an eighth-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle as a freshman but hasn’t been able to crack the top eight since, finishing as high as 11th the past two years.
“It’s been tough, but I’ve been using it as motivation to work harder,” Shaffer said. “I’m swimming smarter and working harder than I ever have.”
Christmas break, in fact, was anything but a break as the determined senior logged 12,000 yards a day in the pool.
“I don’t really remember much of my Christmas break,” she said. “It was pretty much eat … sleep … swim … repeat.”
Not that she is complaining.
“I’ve always really loved swimming, I actually find it relaxing,” Shaffer said.
Her hard work has not gone unnoticed.
“She swims all of the time,” Springfield swim coach Stephanie Scholl said. “She is incredibly dedicated and focused.”
That work ethic extends beyond the pool as Shaffer is a National Honor Society member who plans to major in pre-med at the University of Pittsburgh, where she will also swim.
“I took four recruiting trips and Pitt just seemed like a great fit,” she said. “Plus, it’s the closest to home.”
For now, however, thoughts of college are taking a back seat as the senior is focused on state. She has started to taper and can’t wait to shave.
“I want to do the best I can and drop time in both events,” she said.
Her coach is confident Shaffer can return to the awards podium.
“I think she has a good chance of being in the top five in both events,” Scholl said.
Shaffer will have some company in Canton this week as fellow Springfield senior Chandler Vandiford also qualified to state. Vandiford is seeded ninth in the boys D-I 200-yard individual medley (1:54.42) and 23rd in the 100-yard breaststroke (:59.16).