By Nick Beversdorf
The Merrill swimmers traveled to John Muir Middle School on Thursday to face off against Wausau West in a fiercely-fought conference meet. Although Merrill performed very well with many swimmers setting personal bests, they came up short against West, with Merrill scoring a total of 78 team points to West’s 92.
For the 200-yard medley relay, the Merrill A-Team consisting of Kaytlin Woller, Rachel Hoeppner, Caitlyn Kolehouse and Trinity Kanitz placed second with a combined time of 2:16.45. The Merrill B-Team consisting of Trinity Evans, Rylee Hoeppner, Aliyah Pillai and Katy Ball came in third with a combined time of 2:25.4.
Kaitlyn Woller placed second in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:28.28 and Faith Wheat was right behind her in third with a time of 2:28.61. Ananda VanWie placed fifth with a time of 2:35.44.
For the 200-yard IM, Trinity Kanitz placed second with a time of 2:30.34. Pillai came in fourth with a time of 2:54.09 and Rachel Hoeppner rounded out fifth with a time of 3:03.34. In the 100-yard butterfly, Aliyah took third with a time of 1:18.74 and Ball took fourth with a time of 1:19.83.
Kolehouse barely fell into second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.39 seconds (Natasha Neumann of West got first with 27.2 seconds) and Ball came in fourth with a time of 30.04 seconds. Kolehouse snagged first in the 100-yard freestyle with the smallest time difference to win, this time defeating Neumann by one one-hundredth of a second; 1:00.37 to 1:00.38. Rylee Hoeppner took fourth with 1:11.14 and Stevie Booher took fifth with 1:11.58.
In the 500-yard freestyle, Wheat took second with a time of 6:34.08 and VanWie took fourth with a time of 6:48.29. Breann Cagle rounded out fifth with 7:33.8.
The Merrill A-Team consisting of Trinity Kanitz, Ball, Woller and Kolehouse took first in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a combined time of 1:57.74. The B-Team consisting of Pillai, Booher, VanWie and Rachel Hoeppner placed third with a combined time of 2:13.12.
Trinity Kanitz placed second in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:15.02, Trinity Evans placed fourth with a time of 1:20.69 and Woller placed fifth with a time of 1:23.17.
Rylee Hoeppner placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:27.67 and Rachel Hoeppner came in third with a time of 1:32.45. Alexis Kanitz placed fourth with a time of 1:34.87.
Lastly, the Merrill A-Team consisting of Evans, Wheat, VanWie and Rylee Hoeppner placed second in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a combined time of 4:51.55.
“Merrill swam well against West and fought to the finish but came up just short in their closest Wisconsin Valley Conference meet in years,” comments head coach Kristie Winter.
“We had many personal and season best swims. The girls really came out and gave it their all. I am so proud of their hard work and great team spirit; the team is really pulling together and working as one. Last year West beat us by over 60 points, this year we really gave them a run for their money.”
Merrill varsity swimming will travel to Lakeland on Tuesday and will host Wisconsin Rapids-Lincoln on Thursday, both events starting at 5:30 p.m.
For the full results, click here.