When Lynden High School senior Jan Wolfisberg lines up on the starting blocks at the Class 2A State Swimming Championships on Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, it very well could be his final time swimming competitively.
But for Wolfisberg that doesn't matter. He just wants to go out on top before he heads to Washington State University to study animal science.
"I'm just going to be hoping to get a top spot because it will be the pinnacle of my career," Wolfisberg said. "I also just want to make my coach happy and my mom, who is my biggest fan, happy, and just finish off my career with a bang."
Wolfisberg qualified for the state meet for the first time this season and will compete in the 200 breaststroke, the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.
"I have really improved a ton since my freshman year," Wolfisberg said. "And even last year I wasn't that great, but I swam all offseason and that has really made me improve."
Wolfisberg had no experience swimming competitively before high school but said it has been really exciting to see his times drop and he never thought he would get to the point he is at now.
Wolfisberg has been able to knock 20 seconds off his time since he was a freshman by working out during the offseason.
Steve Gibb, Wolfisberg's coach, said he has seen Wolfisberg continually improve and take seconds off each year.
Gibb said Wolfisberg is a dedicated athlete and sets his own offseason schedule to work out. Lynden does not have a club swim team, forcing the swimmers to set their own schedule and work out on their own during the offseason.
Wolfisberg worked out with a few teammates during the offseason, practicing about three times a week before school and every night after school. The results can be clearly seen in his times.
"This year he kind of stayed at the same time until district," Gibb said. "There, he was able to drop his time and that was really exciting. I think he will be able to drop his time at state, too."
Wolfisberg will enter the state meet as the fifth seed in the breaststroke for the Lions.
Gibb said the breaststroke has always been Wolfisberg's specialty, but something that makes him special as a swimmer is that he can swim other strokes and get results too.
"We will miss him because he is so versatile," Gibb said. "He is just so intense and self-motivated and wants to improve. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, but that's what it takes. I know he is excited and wants to do well and I think he will."
Wolfisberg said he thrives on the pressure. He said there was a lot of expectation for him to qualify this season at the district tournament, but that the pressure helps him to rise above and perform better.
Gibb said Lynden has been fortunate to have many good swimmers in the past few years and Wolfisberg hasn't been the top swimmer but that this year he is the most outstanding swimmer on Lynden's team.
This year's squad was filled with strong senior leaders and Wolfisberg said they led the team as a group. Wolfisberg said he is a leader by example and tries to motivate the other swimmers by working hard and encouraging them to always improve.
During the winter break, Wolfisberg said the Lynden team practices harder than at any time during the season. Unfortunately, this season many players were sick during that time. Gibb said Wolfisberg was able to swim right through it and continued to work hard.
"Those are the hardest practices for sure," Wolfisberg said. "The whole time I was just thinking about getting to state and I knew that if I practiced hard enough then I would achieve getting to state."
Regardless of the results at his final meet, Wolfisberg hopes to continue swimming after school is finished.
"It's definitely sad and I have really enjoyed my whole career," Wolfisberg said. "I'm really going to miss the guys and practice and coach. It's definitely a team effort and I couldn't have done it without them. I really appreciate all the work my coach has put in."