Max McHugh makes a national splash

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STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Sevastopol swimmer Max McHugh made headlines at his first and last state tournament, setting a new national high school record in the 100 yard breaststroke.

“I knew coming into the event if I did things correctly, I'd be able to get the record,” Max McHugh said. “Going out in the first 50 yards I felt very fast, and in the second 50 yards, I was dying a little bit feeling the lactic acid in my arms for sure, but yeah, getting into the wall, I just knew I’d be very close."

McHugh's 51.62-second time wasn't actually that close. He broke the national public school record by almost an entire second and topped the unofficial overall national high school record by 2/10s of second.

“Just a lot of hard work paid off,” McHugh said. “I'd have to give credit to my teammates and coaches of course. I mean, they've gotten me to this point, just an amazing opportunity to swim for this team.”

Technically speaking, McHugh shattered the national record in his 1st year of competition. Up until the 2017 season, he'd only been swimming with the YMCA team. This past year was his first go at high school athletics and the state meet.

“It’s an amazing spectacle,” McHugh said. “Like I said, it was louder than any meet I’ve ever been to even compared to YMCA nationals.”

“The natatorium was packed,” Sturgeon Bay Co-Op Head Coach Jeff Norton said. “The crowd was excited, and then to see the feat that he swam, a new national record, every parent from every team gave him a standing ovation.”

The national record is just one of many milestones McHugh hopes to hit in his career. After qualifying for the Olympic trials in 2016 his eyes are on Tokyo in 2020.

“That’s the ultimate goal,” McHugh said. “That's the ultimate aspiration. We'll see only time can tell.”

Before the Olympic trials roll around in a couple years, he'll be headed to the University of Minnesota to swim with his older brother, Connor McHugh.