State meet goes swimmingly


(from left) Jane Pfeufer, Hally Laney, Nadine Abrahamse and Annie Pfeufer took the top spot on the podium in the girls 400 freestyle relay.

Decatur’s girls swim team won first place in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the state meet on Saturday, Feb. 9. The 400-yard freestyle relay was not only the last race of the meet, but also the last high school race ever for seniors Nadine Abrahamse and Jane Pfeufer.

“Going out with a bang is what we wanted to do,” Abrahamse said. “I’ve been hitting a dip in my swimming… and my last meet didn’t go so well, so this meet I said, ‘I’m going to shove all that aside and I’m really going to go for it.’”

Pfeufer began the fourth leg of the relay in a tie for first place with Chamblee High School’s relay. Fifty-two seconds later, she touched the wall more than two seconds ahead of Chamblee’s swimmer, crowning the Bulldogs as the state champions in the Girls 400 free relay.

They were only one half-second off of the national qualifying time, according to Pfeufer, but they didn’t realize this in the moment because, as club swimmers, they are typically more focused on individual events.

“High school is more about points for your team, while club is more about your times individually,” sophomore Hally Laney said.

For club, the swimmers swim at three separate clubs (both Pfeufer and her younger sister, sophomore Annie, swim at Dynamo), so the relay gave them a chance to bond as a team.  Consequently, they were close to tears when they thought they might not be able to swim in the finals. Annie had a migraine and woke up from a nap only minutes before the race.

The Pfeufer sisters had already dominated earlier freestyle events at the state meet. Jane placed third in the 50 freestyle, and Annie placed second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle. Seeded in the slower heat of the 200 finals, Annie was not expected to place in that event, but finished the race over four seconds ahead of the next fastest swimmer.

“I got out [of the pool], and they told me, ‘you need to come to the podium because you might medal,’” Annie said.

Reflecting on their respective 10 and 6-7 years of competitive swimming, Abrahamse and Jane Pfeufer said they wouldn’t trade their hours in the pool for anything.

“Part of the reason high school state is so fun is because you get to compete with your friends [from your club team] in a different way,” Jane Pfeufer said. All swimmers from Chamblee’s (pink caps) and St. Pius’ (gold caps) 400-yard free relay medal-winning teams swim with Annie and jane Pfeufer at Dynamo.
“It’s that feeling you get when you see that time on the board,” Jane said, “and you dropped a second or when you’ve hit that state time -”“- or when you see your coach really happy -” Laney added,“- oh my gosh that’s even better,” Jane finished.

All four were in the pool again on Monday morning at club practice.

“At least we had one day off,” Laney joked.

While Abrahamse does not plan on swimming in college, Pfeufer will swim at Ithaca College.