Hatchets, Bluejays hit the pool
The Merrill swimmers kicked off the season in Antigo last Tuesday, then joined Tomahawk in Thursday’s Hatchet Invite.
The Hatchet girls rose to the surface of their relay meet, scoring 444 points to best Marshfield (346), Ladysmith/Flambeau/Bruce (346) and Merrill (256).
“(We had) great swims by Baylee Dallman, Karli Cecil and Morgan Weber,” THS coach Theresa L’Esperance said. “Their hard work in the off season is paying off big time.
“We had over 31 personal records, a new meet record in the butterfly, a medley new top all-time #3 placement, and in the 400 free relay, the same girls went #7 in top ten all-time records.”
THS slashed more than 2 seconds off the 200 fly record-set in 2007 by Marshfield-with a 1:56.77 from Cecil, Katherine Russell, Weber and Dallman. Lauren Hilt, Cecil, Weber and Dallman went 1:58.69 in the 200 medley and 3:56.93 in the 400 free while winning both events.
The other Hatchet win came from the 200 back group of Russell, Dallman, Maddy McPherson and Hilt in 2:03.33.
The THS girls went 2-3 in the 400 medley with Jackie Elliott, Jamie Sterr, Russell and Mikhayla Kleich (4:44.82) and McPherson, Samantha Kleich, Michaela Galganski and Emma Bushey (4:56.15). Other runner-up swims came from: Bushey, Taylor Hanson, Dallman, M. Kleich (850 free medley, 10:07;08); Russell, Galganski, S. Kleich, Cecil (400 medley, 4:50.91); Galganski, Hanson, Sterr, M. Kleich (200 free, 1:53.55); and Galganski, Sterr, Bushey, and Weber (200 brea, 2:27.77). The 400 free team of Hanson, S. Kleich, Elliott and M. Kleich was 3rd in 4:19.78.
The Merrill girls appreciated the diversity of the meet.
“The girls had a lot of fun as this is a relay meet and many of them swam events that they do not normally swim,” MHS coach Lisa Siewert said. “They taught the other schools many cheers and displayed great sportsmanship.
The highest place finish was the 200 medley relay. Freshman standout Caitlyn Kohlhouse had an excellent meet with good swims in the 400 IM relay, 200 butterfly relay, and 200 breaststroke relay. Caitlyn and fellow freshman, Faith Wheat, had excellent races in the butterfly events, which adds depth to the butterfly events usually swum by senior Robin Opsahl.
“Newcomer Shailee Meyers surprised the coaches with a fantastic split in the 200 breaststroke relay. Seniors Taylor LaBorde and Madison Dillinger showed great athleticism and sportsmanship by swimming two of the most difficult races back-to-back, the 500 freestyle in the 850 crescendo relay and then the 100 IM in the 400 IM relay.
Merrill’s 200 medley group of Taylor LaBorde, Jennica Jahnke, Robin Opsahl and Miranda Jahnke ranked 3rd in 2:14.17. The 200 free (J. Jahnke, M. Jahnke, Alexis Kanitz, Pettit, 2:01.04) and the 200 back squad (LaBorde, Morgan Norton, Madison Dillinger, Pettit, 2:23.60) both finished 4th.
The 400 free team of Pettit, Courtney Grieser, Dillinger and J. Jahnke was 5th in 4:35.87.
The Red Robins collected all but two of the event wins on the way to a 94-74 victory, but Merrill did grab seven runner-up placings.
“The girls were excited to kick off the season against their rival, Antigo,” Siewert said. “This was Antigo’s first-ever swim meet and the competition was fierce.
“Newcomers Caitlyn Kolehouse and Anna VonHirsh, had excellent debuts and swam well in all of their races. They were assisted by standout veterans, Kendyl Pettit, Miranda Jahnke, Jennica Jahnke, Robin Opsahl and Taylor LaBorde.
“The coaches are very proud of the girls’ competitiveness and sportsmanship, and are looking forward to what the rest of the swim season brings.”
The Bluejays’ wins came in the 200 medley relay in 2:26.10 (LaBorde, J. Jahnke, Opsahl, M. Jahnke) and the 200 free relay in 2:07.23 (J. Jahnke, M. Jahnke, Kolehouse, Pettit).