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Lakeland boys’ swim saved best for last

April 17, 2020 by Brett LaBore

In a season that ended at the state meet, the Lakeland boys’ swim team used its four best swimmers to help them be one of the best in conference.

“We had a smaller team and a whole bunch of new freshman, so really going into the season we were looking to have individuals do their best for the year and for their lifetime,” coach Chris Garcia said.

The Thunderbirds finished third in conference with 243 points at the Great Northern Conference meet on Feb. 7. Rhinelander won with 417 points and Tomahawk finished second with 285 points.

“I thought third at conference was pretty good, but you know for some of the guys, the end game isn’t conference or sectionals, it’s to get to state,” Garcia said.

Lakeland finished the dual season with a 6-4 record.

At the conference meet, Brandon Boh took first place and was the conference champion in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:55.01. Being one of the captains, Boh took great pride in leading a younger Thunderbirds’ team.

Other captain, Tyler Teichmiller, took third place in both the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. Both of those times gave him honorable mention all-conference. Teichmiller was another instrumental part to the leadership of the team.

“Brandon and Tyler have swam with us for a long time and have been outstanding captains and really great guys in and out of the pool,” Garcia said. “They come from wonderful families they are exactly what we expected out of our captains. Robert (husband Robert Garcia) and I couldn’t ask for better ones.”

Liam Hogan won the conference championship in both the 50 and 500 freestyle. His time of 21.97 in the 50 took on a new conference record.

Freshman Avery Tucker took first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.59, edging the conference swimmer of the Year Brett Farmer of Antigo by .04 seconds.

The Thunderbirds also won conference in the 400 freestyle relay with a team of Boh, Teichmiller, Hogan and Tucker.

At the 2020 WIAA Division 2 Sectional meet at Wisconsin Rapids on Feb. 15, Boh qualified for state in two individual events. His time of 1:51.25 was good enough to qualify him to State in the 200 freestyle. He also qualified in the 100 freestyle with a time of 50.13.

Teichmiller qualified for state in the 200 IM, beating his seed time by over five seconds with a time of 2:04.30.

Even though he did not win, Liam Hogan qualified for state based on time with a 21.82 in the 50 freestyle. Tomahawk’s Travis Phillips won with a blazing time of 21.33. Hogan got the automatic bid when he won the 100 freestyle with a time of 47.81.

Based on time, the 200 freestyle team advanced to state with a time of 1:30.08. Then they won the 400 freestyle relay, holding off Tomahawk and Menomonie with a time of 3:20.43.

Tucker qualified for state based on time in the 100 backstroke, swimming a 56.71. 

“(Avery) worked really hard with Robert on technique and dropped a lot of time on his (swims) and his relay times were phenomenal,” Garcia said.

Not only did Boh, Teichmiller, Tucker and Hogan do well at the sectional meet, but many other Thunderbirds did as well. 

Max Nowak finished sixth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:40.87, besting his seed time by nearly 20 seconds.

Maverick Metzger finished 16th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 56.02, besting his seed time by four seconds.

In the 50, Primo Filizetti beat his seed time with a swim of 29.56. Joey Jurries finished 18th in the backstroke with a time of 1:21.48. Thomas Phillips swam a 6:01.40 in the 500, besting his seed time by 40 seconds.

These swimmers provide a stable foundation for Lakeland swimming for the years to come. 

“We were really proud of our freshman. It is a tough sport to stick with. You have to be patient because sometimes you don’t see those results until the end of the season,” Garcia said. “They stuck it out until the very end and then at sectionals they really saw some big payoff.”

One of the highlights of the year came at the state meet on Friday, Feb. 21. The Thunderbirds qualified four swimmers (Boh, Teichmiller, Tucker, Hogan) and finished 10th at the meet with a total of 91 points. That finish was higher than any other GNC school.

“We weren’t the deep team with numbers that Rhinelander and Tomahawk had,” Garcia said. “Top swimmers against top swimmers it was kind of nice to see Lakeland come out on top.” 

The 400 freestyle relay has been Lakeland’s signature event. Boh, Teichmiller, Tucker and Hogan put up their best performance at State with a time of 3:19.29, good for seventh place. Though it wasn’t a podium time, it was their best all season.

“The 400 free relay has been kind of our signature event for these guys and they finished exactly the way they should of,” Garcia said.

The same relay team also took seventh in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:30.10, very close to their seed time.

Hogan took fourth place in both the 50 and 100 freestyle, good for the podium. In the 50, he beat his seed time and swam a 21.65. He’ll look to continue that strong leadership that Boh and Teichmiller left, into next year.

“Liam got a very good example to follow from these guys,” Garcia said. “They were inclusive (of everyone) and they made sure they were part of the team. Liam picked up on that and will carry it to next year.”

Boh’s highest finish came in the 200 freestyle, finishing 13th with a time of 1:53.11. Teichmiller had an 11th place finish in the 200 IM with a time of 2:04.33. Tucker came in 15th in the 100 backstroke with a swim of 57.29.

“We just have to focus on doing the best we can with what we have,” Garcia said.

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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