On Nov. 6, the Lakeland girls’ swim team set out to partake in the Division 2 sectional swim meet in Menomonie. However, the team did not have their usual coaches.
Coaches Chris and Robert Garcia and student-athletes Naomi Hamerla and Josie Wentland did not make the trip. That left senior Rylee Ahlborn, junior Brie Wescott, freshman Saylor Timmerman and sophomore Sophia Gyuro eligible to compete at the meet, with their parents filling in as temporary coaches at sectionals.
The Lakeland athletic department made a statement regarding the absences on Nov. 10.
“There have been an unfortunate sequence of events that have risen in our swim program due to athletic code violations. At this time our current swim coaches have resigned and our district will be looking to fill the positions going forward.”
Without Hamerla and Wentland, the Lakeland girls’ swim team did not qualify for state in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. They were seeded second in both relays and were favored to go to state. Ahlborn and Wescott did qualify in individual events. 
Ahlborn qualified for state in the 100 freestyle via time in 54.5 seconds. Wescott qualified for state in the 50 freestyle via time in 25.2 seconds. 
Timmerman had her highest finish of the day at the sectional meet in the 100 backstroke. She finished sixth with a time of 1:05.92. In the 100 breaststroke, Gyuro finished 20th with a time of 1:29.23, beating her seed time by 3.03 seconds at sectionals.
Missy Meerstein filled in as coach at the state meet.
Missy Meerstein and Jeremy Meerstein were subsequently hired as the new Lakeland boys’ swim coaches. They held their first practice Nov. 17.
Chris Garcia did not reply to a message by The Times seeking further comment as of press time for today’s edition.
Brett LaBore may be reached at brett@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.