Four girls participated in the WIAA Division 2 girls’ state swimming and diving championships Friday, Nov. 15 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Natatorium, making history once again.
“It was great. We actually accomplished a couple goals that we had,” coach Chris Garcia said. “One was to break the record again in the 200 free and the other was to podium in that event.”
Indeed, they accomplished what they came to do. History came in the 200-yard freestyle relay when Brie Wescott, Naomi Hamerla, Mariah Angove and Rylee Ahlborn swam a new school record time of 1:40.50, placing sixth and earning a spot on the podium.
“I think just that atmosphere hyped everybody up. They all swam a little bit better,” Garcia said. “That arena is very exciting, a nice group of fans and parents were up there.”
The last time a Lakeland girls’ swimmer made the podium was 2003.
“I just think the excitement motivated everybody to do well, so it was fun,” Garcia said. “We had a ton of Great Northern Conference teams as well, so everybody was cheering for everybody.”
Rylee Ahlborn swam in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle. In the 50, she swam a personal best time of 25.15 and placed 12th. In the 100, she swam a time of 54.80 placing 15th.
“(Rylee) deserves it,” Garcia said. “She has worked even harder this year than she ever has, so it was fun to see.”
Angove swam in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing with a time of 1:11.78 and placing 16th.
“Just getting to the state meet — it gives them the experience so when they go back they know what to expect,” Garcia said.
The final event the Thunderbirds competed in was the 400-yard freestyle relay. Once again it was Wescott, Hamerla, Angove and Ahlborn who swam the relay. They finished 15th with a time of 3:45.51.
“We really had tapered off for sectionals,” Garcia said.
Overall, this meet put a bow on a very successful and historic season for Lakeland girls’ swimming.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]