Brittany Menzer’s efforts last year snapped a long dry spell for the Avon Lake girls swim program.
The Shoregals sophomore finished 23rd at the Division I state meet in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:14.39. She’s the first Avon Lake girl to make it to the state meet for a non-diving event since the 200-meter freestyle and medley relay teams qualified in the 2001-02 season in Division II.
Individually, Mezner is the first Avon Lake girl to make state for a non-diving event since Julie Weaver qualified as an individual for the Division II 100-meter backstroke in 2000 and ’01.
“The state meet was just incredible,” Menzer said. “Even though I was the only one that made it, I had my whole team behind me. It was just a great experience. I was a little sad all of them couldn’t make it because we could only get a limited amount of tickets.”
Menzer barely qualified to the state meet, as she notched the No. 24 and final seed (5:10.79).
“I’ll have to admit I was a little scared going in,” she said. “To qualify as a freshman against those huge senior girls running all over you was a little frightening.
“Overall, it was a great experience. Hopefully, as I continue my high school season, I’ll continue to get better and better. And hopefully I can bring some teammates with me.”
Menzer took two months off after last season to enjoy some downtime as she recovered from a minor injury. But now she’s prepped and ready to roll.
“We’re very excited for the season,” Menzer said. “We’ve tried to keep practice interesting with themes for the day. There’s a lot of team bonding. It’s a lot fun.”
Menzer was also a 2013 district qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle, and as a member of the 200-meter freestyle and 400-meter freestyle relays. She finished ninth in the 50 free (24.91), eighth with the 200 free relay (1:43.66) and 10th with the 400 free relay (3:47.58).
“Brittany said her arms really hurt right before she went into the water for state,” Avon Lake coach Dan Smith said. “I knew that wasn’t a good sign. I don’t know if we didn’t have the appropriate taper or if she let the nerves get to her or maybe a lactic acid build-up, and it would release because she was a little stressed out.
“But I still think she did her best, a lot better than I thought she would for her first state meet. I know she’ll best her time this year. I don’t think that there will be any problem with that.”
By the end of her high school career, Menzer might have a shot at the county record for the 500-meter freestyle. Firelands’ Laura Clark set the mark of 5:03.36 at the 2005 Division II state meet.
“I really see her getting the IM school record, too, as well as the butterfly record” Smith said. “She’s really getting good at both of those events.”