While one special career is dwindling down in Milton, another one seems ready to blossom.
Senior Danielle Cramer will finish up her prep career with two individual races at the state meet, while freshman Bailey Ratzburg will swim in her first state meet, also racing in two individual events.
“Having Bailey at her first state meet will be exciting,” Cramer said. “My last, her first, it’s sort of like the beginning and the end.”
Cramer, a four-time state qualifier, will swim in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly. Ratzburg will race in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley.
“I'm not quite sure what to expect,” Ratzburg said. “But I’m hyped to see what I can do at a bigger stage.”
Cramer and Ratzburg will be joined by senior Caroline Burki and junior Eleanor Parker in the 400-yard freestyle relay. In the 200-yard medley relay, Cramer and Ratzburg will team up with Burki and sophomore Azia Lynn Koser.
Cramer, who signed a national letter of intent to swim at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday, earned a podium finish in the 100-yard backstroke last year at the state meet with a fifth-place finish, clocking in with a time of 56.11 seconds. Cramer swam in the 200-yard individual medley last season at the state meet, finishing 15th, but trades the event with the 100-yard butterfly.
“There’s a lot of young talent, but ideally getting on the podium would be a great thing to have happen,” Cramer said. “My fly has been feeling strong too. I’m hoping for good finishes in both of them.”
Ratzburg, who went into the sectional meet with a 28-0 record in individual races, finished second in both the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke.
The 400-yard freestyle relay team, which brings back three of its four members from last year’s squad (Cramer, Burki and Parker) that placed 22nd at the state meet, will look to build on its sectional time of 3:34.20, which was good for fourth.
The 200-yard individual medley team of Cramer, Ratzburg, Koser and Burki placed sixth at the sectional with a time of 1:50.29.
“I feel very good about the relay,” Ratzburg said. “We did great at sectionals and I feel like we have more in us.”
While Cramer was the only Red Hawk to qualify for the state meet her freshman season, Ratzburg’s first-trip to state will have a different feel, with four other girls and alternates making the trip.
“If I do get nervous or scared, or unsure, I’ll always have someone to rely on behind me,” Ratzburg said.
“It’s been so much fun, practice this week just feels like normal practices,” Cramer said. “Usually this is the loneliest week of the year.”
Milton will compete in the State Girls Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday at the UW Natatorium in Madison, with timed finals beginning at 3 p.m.