It’s that time of year again. The Lakeland boys’ swim team competed at the Great Northern Conference meet at Rhinelander High School on Friday, Feb. 7.
The Thunderbirds finished third as a team with 243 points. The Hodags won with 417 points.
“Number wise that’s how we thought we were going to place,” assistant coach Robert Garcia said. “We had more first place finishes than Rhinelander and Tomahawk.”
The first win of the day for the Thunderbirds came from Brandon Boh in the 200 freestyle. He won with a time of 1:55.01, the only time under two minutes.
“It was a good race and the last 25 yards he started kicking pretty hard,” Garcia said. “It was a nice race for Brandon.”
A couple of events later, Liam Hogan broke the conference record in the 50 yard freestyle. He swam a 21.97, the first ever time under 22 seconds in conference. He broke Colin Koss’ record of 22.36 set in 2016.
“That was a nice race for Liam,” Garcia said. “He got a late start, but Liam has a lot of speed between the flags. He made up pretty quick off the wall coming home and he’s pretty tough. I do think he can win state this year.”
Hogan came back in the 500 freestyle with another win. He won with a time of 5:03.10, 18 seconds then the next highest finisher.
“He’s just an all around good swimmer. Put him in 200 he would do well,” Garcia said. “He’s a pretty good all around swimmer. He doesn’t mind doing distance. He’s a competitor, he’s going to push the person next to him and he’s going to push himself.”
In the 100 backstroke, freshman Avery Tucker snuck past the veteran senior Brett Farmer from Antigo for the individual win with a time of 57.59. Farmer swam a 57.63.
“We knew that would be a great race,” Garcia said. “I told Avery, ‘This is the guy that’s going to push you and I really think you can beat him at conference.’ We really concentrated on his start and turn and finish and that made a big difference.”
To cap off the night, the Thunderbirds finished with style. In another close finish, Boh, Tucker, Tyler Teichmiller and Hogan won the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:26.11. Tomahawk finished second with a time of 3:26.76.
“We know Liam is a strong finisher, but Tomahawk has their best racer at end,” Garcia said. “It was fun, back and forth — they were leading, we were lead ing. That was a really fun race to end it on a high note.”
To start the meet, Tucker, Teichmiller, Boh and Hogan finished second in the 200 medley relay with a time off 1:44.29.
Teichmiller finished third in the 200 IM with a time of 2:10.22. He finished the swim with a strong split of 30.08. He also finished third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:07.21.
“I think Tyler is going to swim faster (next week),” Garcia said.
Max Nowak had two top six finishes. He finished sixth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:11.60 and fifth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 6:00.40.
Boh and Tucker went five-six in the 100 butterfly. Boh swam a time of 1:01.87 and Tucker a time of 1:01.97.
Up next, the Thunderbirds compete at Sectionals on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School. The meet gets underway at 1 p.m.Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]