Lakeland’s Liam Hogan swims the 500 freestyle at the GNC conference meet at Medford on Friday, Jan. 1. Hogan would win the race and take the conference title.
Lakeland’s Liam Hogan swims the 500 freestyle at the GNC conference meet at Medford on Friday, Jan. 1. Hogan would win the race and take the conference title.
The Lakeland boys swim team had a fantastic showing at the Great Northern Conference meet on Jan. 1. The Thunderbirds won conference titles in four events on their way to a third place team finish, behind Rhinelander and Tomahawk, with a total score of 241.

“There were great races, which makes the meet exciting. Everyone loves the competition,” Lakeland head coach Chris Garcia said.

Every competitor likes to come out on top and that was the case four a couple Thunderbirds on Friday at the Medford high school pool.

To start the night’s individual races, Alex Tucker took the conference championship in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:51.42. He came in ahead of teammate Brandon Boh who finished second with a 1:54.76.

“Alex Tucker and Brandon Boh going 1-2 in the 200 free was a great start,” Garcia said.

The Thunderbirds continued to build off that momentum throughout the meet.

After the 200 free, Tyler Teichmiller took second in the 200 IM with a time of 2:11.04.  

Then Liam Hogan, in a nail-biter, won the conference championship in the 50-yard free with a time of 22.37. He touched out just 0.29 of a second ahead of Rhinelander’s Russell Benoy.

Also in the 50-yard free, Joey Jurries took 17th place with a lifetime best of 31.84.

Lakeland stayed on the podium in the 100 yard butterfly as Tucker took third with a time of 57.09.

That was followed up by a second place finish by Boh in the 100 freestyle.  

Hogan then won his second conference championship of the night in the 500 freestyle, crushing the competition and winning by just under 23 seconds over Shawano’s Peter Fuller who came in second.

Also in the 500 free, Lakeland’s Thomas Phillips came in sixth with a lifetime best time of 6:30.37

Lakeland’s final top individual finish came in the 100-yard breaststroke where Teichmiller finished second with a 1:05.78. This was another close race as he touched out just 0.46 of a second behind Rhinelander’s Thaddeus Heck. 

Lakeland also landed some podium spots in a couple relay races that went down to the wire.

In the 200 freestyle relay, the Thunderbird team of Boh, Teichmiller, Tucker, and Hogan finished second with a 1:31.73. They were just 0.21 seconds off the winning time.  

“The 200 free relay was a really fun race with a tough Rhinelander team just touching us out,” Garcia said.

But in the 400 free relay, those same four Thunderbirds would beat Rhinelander, by just 0.70 of a second, for the conference championship with a 3:22.17.

“The highlight of the night was the 400 free relay,” Garcia said. “Lakeland was losing the first 200, but Tucker brought us back into the lead. After that Hogan never gave up and Lakeland took the win.”

Rhinelander took the team championship with 350 points. That was followed by Tomahawk with 254, Lakeland with 241, Shawano with 218, Medford with 131, and Antigo with 59 points.

Next up for Lakeland is the WIAA sectional meet which will be on Saturday at the UW-Stevens Point pool. The meet is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m.

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.