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Maddy Schnelzer Pursues Passion For Swimming

Maddy Schnelzer is one of the most successful swimmers to ever compete for Wadsworth High School.
Schnelzer is a senior at WHS and has been swimming since she was in elementary school. Like many kids, she was introduced to swimming by participating in swim lessons. But for Schnelzer, swimming quickly became more than just a casual activity.
“My mom put me in swim lessons at the YMCA,” Schnelzer said. “I did two seasons there, then switched to club, and it kind of just took off from there.”
Schnelzer did try other sports when she was young, but she did not enjoy any of them as much as swimming. She would often watch the older girls around her while they swam and feel inspired to be like them one day.
Schnelzer swam at the club Copley Water Warriors until a few months before starting high school. It was shut down during the COVID pandemic, so Schnelzer attended another club in Medina to get extra practice before her freshman season. She currently swims at Swim United in Brunswick.
Since most club swimmers also swim for their high school, there are rules in place to ensure that the two separate seasons do not interfere with one another.
“We’re allowed to compete for a club up until our first high school meet, then again after States,” Schnelzer said.
Schnelzer practices for her club team Monday through Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, as well as occasionally competing in meets on the weekends. Between high school and club, she is in the pool all year long.

Schnelzer poses with the other seniors on the girls’ swim team. The team celebrated Senior Night on January 10 before their meet against Stow. Photo courtesy of Maddy Schnelzer.

“For club, we get two weeks off after Nationals, which is the end of March, and then we get two weeks off in August,” Schnelzer said. “It’s six weeks off at max.”
Schnelzer is currently in the middle of the high school season. She trains in the morning and afternoon every weekday: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings are lifting, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are swimming, and every afternoon is another swim practice. The team also practices on Saturday mornings.
The goal of this intense practice schedule is to build up the swimmers’ speed throughout the season so that they peak for the postseason.
“My favorite part is at the end of the year seeing how fast you can go, and seeing how much the hard work paid off,” Schnelzer said. “Just seeing your time on the board and then looking back at your family and their reaction, that’s always fun.”
Autumn Reeves, who is the head swim coach, credits Schnelzer’s success to her work ethic in practice.
“Maddy works hard each and every day to make herself better in and out of the pool,” Reeves said. “She has a strong mental mindset that helps her push through tough practices.”
Going through challenging practices together has built a strong camaraderie among the swimmers on the high school team. Schnelzer enjoys swimming in relay events because she and her friends can compete together.
“Breaking relay records is a lot of fun because you get to share that experience with the other girls,” Schnelzer said. “I really like doing that when we can.”
With all the time Schnelzer puts into swimming year-round, she sometimes finds it frustrating when she does not see the results she wants. Still, Schnelzer tries to keep a positive mindset and focus on what she needs to do to accomplish her goals.
“Sometimes I don’t feel like I am where I should be,” Schnelzer said. “Sometimes I feel like I should be faster, which is hard to think about, but you also can’t look at it that way. You have to think about how you can get there.”
Schnelzer has had many accomplishments throughout the course of her high school career.
“Maddy has worked hard by setting multiple records,” Reeves said. “She set goals to make it in the top 8 at the state meet [last year] and placed 4th overall. Maddy also was Suburban League MVP last year.”

Schnelzer and her teammates hug after finishing a relay. Schnelzer has qualified to the state meet in both individual events and relays. Photo courtesy of Maddy Schnelzer.

This fall, Schnelzer signed her letter of intent to swim at the University of Buffalo, which is a Division 1 school. Swimming in college has been Schnelzer’s goal for years. As a club swimmer, she has constantly been surrounded by swimmers who plan to continue in college. While her peers did influence her decision in some ways, Schnelzer’s passion for swimming is what truly drove her to pursue it at the college level.
“I feel like with everyone who does club, it’s kind of just assumed that you’re going to swim in college,” Schnelzer. “That’s the mindset club puts in you, and so I always thought I would. But I always wanted to because I love swimming so much. So it wasn’t like I had to do it—I wanted to.”
Schnelzer initially believed that she would end up at a college somewhere warm, like California. But as she was going through the recruiting process, she found herself drawn to the University of Buffalo, which is in New York.
“I met with the coach at Buffalo, and as soon as I got there he kind of just took me under his wing, and I felt like I had a connection with him as a coach,” Schnelzer said.
The supportive atmosphere at Buffalo made Schnelzer certain that the school was right for her. Despite the pressure of competing at the Division 1 level, her connection with the coach and team has given her confidence going into college competitions.
“I am a little nervous because now I feel like I definitely have to prove myself,” Schnelzer said. “But knowing the coach, he’s not going to put any extra pressure on me, and that’s why I feel so comfortable around him.”
For now, Schnelzer is focusing on finishing the last season of her high school career. After placing 4th in the 100 Butterfly at the state meet last season, she hopes to return to States and land even higher on the podium.
“I definitely want to medal again in Butterfly,” Schnelzer said. “I’m trying to go for state champ, but I will have some pretty tough competition. I also want to try to make it in one of my relays, or both.”
No matter how the rest of her season goes, Schnelzer has cemented her legacy as one of the best to ever swim for Wadsworth.

This is an example of what a typical week of training looks like for a Wadsworth High School Swimmer. Graphic by Lizzy Edwards.
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About the Contributor
Lizzy Edwards, In-Depth Editor
Lizzy Edwards is the In-Depth editor for The Bruin. She has been on the staff for two years. Her favorite departments to write in are In-Depth and Features, and two of her favorite stories she wrote were In-Depths about the election in Ohio and the 55th anniversary of the Bruin. Her favorite part of being on the Bruin staff is working together with the rest of the staff to write stories that are interesting and relevant to the community. She finds it very rewarding to plan a story and layout and see it all come together on the page.
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