Lakeland head boys swimming coach Chris Garcia summed-up the sectional meet for her Thunderbirds perfectly.

“It was a very, very good day for the Lakeland swim team.”

Was it ever.

Lakeland Union High School finished second as a team at the WIAA Division 2 sectional meet, which was held in Stevens Point on Feb. 9, and they will be well represented at the state swim meet next week in Madison.

Three different T-Birds won sectional championships in individual races, as did the 400 freestyle relay team.

In addition, Lakeland also picked up at large bids for the state meet in four events.

Sectional champions automatically qualify for state, as do the next 12 fastest times in the state in the respective division. 

Alex Tucker took the sectional championship in the 200 yard freestyle with a time of 1:50.26. Tyler Teichmiller won the title in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:05.05, and Liam Hogan won the 500 freestyle sectional championship in 5:00.54.

Those three swimmers combined with Brandon Boh to win the 400-yard freestyle relay sectional title. 

“That core four has been strong all year. They really put it out there today,” Garcia said of her state bound swimmers.

Boh, Teichmiller, Tucker, and Hogan also combined forces to swim a state qualifying time in the 200 yard freestyle relay. They finished in second place with a 1:31.81 which was good enough to punch a ticket to Madison.

As was Hogan’s time in the 50 yard free. In that race he lost to Rhinelander’s Russell Benoy by just 0.08 of a second to take second place. Hogan finished with a 21.95.

“Its hard to complain about second when you’re going at 21,” Garcia said.

Teichmiller also received an at large bid in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing third in 1:02. 97.  

“That was an amazing race, actually, for all the top three guys,” Garcia said of the race Teichmiller lost by just 0.87 of a second.

The 100-yard free race was also close and Boh took third with a. 50.30, which was also good enough to qualify for the state meet.

Rhinelander won the sectional as a team and also took all the sectional championships in the events Lakeland did no win.

Garcia said the two Great Northern Conference rivals will make their presence known and hold their own.

“It’s good for the GNC to be represented down at the state meet,” she said. “People think of the big power houses as Mona Grove. Madison. Elkhorn. But the northern part of the state has some outstanding swimmers so I think with the combination of the Lakeland/Rhinelander group we will definitely be recognized down at state.”

Rhinelander scored 377 points for the team win. That was followed by Lakeland with 263, Menomonie with 242, River Falls with 231, Rice Lake with 210, Tomahawk with 183, Wausau East with 182, Shaw with 167, Medford with 100, and Antigo with 74.

The Division 2 state meet is Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at the UW-Natatorium in Madison.

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