The Lakeland boys’ swim team started their season off in winning fashion on Tuesday night in Antigo.

The Thunderbirds defeated the Red Robins 74-52 in the Great Northern Conference opener. Not only did it gain an early victory, but Lakeland’s young swimmers also gained some good early experience.

“This was a good meet to open with,” Lakeland head coach Chris Garcia said. “The atmosphere was a little more relaxed which gave the new guys a chance to get a meet under their belts without a lot of pressure.”

Two of those young swimmers who fared well in their first varsity meet were freshmen Sam Black and Ethan Jeschke.

Black finished second in the 200-meter freestyle, behind teammate Alex Tucker, with a time of 2 minutes, 56.66 seconds. 

“I was very impressed by Sam Black in the 200 free,” Garcia said. “He went out strong and held on.”

Black was also runner-up in the 100 breaststroke with a finishing time of 1:51.62.  That was two seconds ahead of fellow freshman Jeschke who finished third in the 100 breast, a stroke he just learned in practice, in 1:53.78.

Garcia said she was especially impressed by Jeschke’s results because he is so green in the pool.

“Ethan Jeschke, also a freshman and completely new to swimming did outstanding in the breaststroke after just getting it legal about one week ago,” she said.

For the experienced swimmers, it was business as usual.

Senior Alex Tucker won the 200 meter free in 2:16.63 and the 100 meter butterfly in 1:05.36. Both times were in excess of 10 seconds ahead of the next finisher.

Sophomore Liam Hogan, also an experienced leader on the team, won the 50 meter freestyle and the 400 meter freestyle with times of 25.90 and 4:48.77 respectively.

Other seasoned Thunderbirds who swam well included Tyler Teichmiller, who, in his first meet after a season ending injury last year, won the 100 meter freestyle with a time of 1:02.15.

Joey Jurries continued the hard work he put in on the backstroke a season ago and took second in 1:40.93.

“Joey Jurries had a solid backstroke race already dropping quite a bit of time from his best last year, “ said Garcia.

The T-Birds, however, did struggle a bit with their 200 freestyle relay race. Jurries, Jeschke, Black, and Thomas Phillips took second in 2:31.08 which was 18 seconds behind Antigo’s winning team of Dane Tischendorf, Bryce Karl, Devin Farrar, and Brett Farmer who won the race with a time of 2:13.90.

But the 400 free relay team redeemed them with a victory as Hogan, Philips, Teichmiller, and Tucker won the race in 4:47.45.

“Overall the team showed great effort in the pool and support for their teammates which I was really pleased about, “ said Garcia. “Obviously we have lots to work on but the vibe is very positive.”

The next task for the Lakeland boys swimmers was a meet in Shawano after deadline. Coverage will be in Tuesday’s paper.

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