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Sturgeon Bay’s McHugh celebrates 2 NCAA swimming titles

The national champion swimmer is now getting ready for the U.S. Olympic Trials in June
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 6:08 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - We first introduced you to Sturgeon Bay’s Max McHugh when he set the national high school record in the 100-yard breast stroke to win state a few years ago.

Now in college, McHugh just won 2 national championships, taking the 100 and 200-yard breast stroke titles at the NCAA’s last weekend. And McHugh’s winning 100 time was the 5th-fastest, ever.

“I am from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. I never thought I would be in this position,” McHugh said. “Indescribable. It has been my goal for forever. As long as I have been in college it has been my goal. I definitely knew it was doable going into the meet if I swam my own race. Long time coming for sure.”

For McHugh, last weekend’s success was about as far away as you can get from the crushing disappointment he felt when last year’s national championships were called off due to Covid-19.

“Right away I wasn’t in a good head space at all,” McHugh said. “It took me a good month or two to get over it. It was a relief to have NCAA’s this year for sure. No doubt. Even at the meet you could feel a sense of gratitude. More gratitude than before that we were even having that meet.”

McHugh was the favorite in the 100, but summoned extra effort the next day to take the 200 title.

“I am probably going to take this week to realize it,” McHugh said. “But it’s time to get back in the pool for sure. I am excited about the foreseeable future.”

He said he’s relaxing this week. But that relaxation? Including lifting Monday. And he was back in the pool Tuesday.

“I guess it’s a habit of sorts,” McHugh said. It’s a good habit though. And up next for McHugh? The U.S. Olympic Trials in June, where he feels he has a legitimate shot at making it to the Tokyo games if he swims up to his capabilities. That’s the ultimate goal. And Sheboygan North junior Will Hayon has also qualified for the trials as well. A lot to celebrate for area swimmers.

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