Lakeland will host the Great Northern Conference swim meet tonight at 5 p.m and it could be an intriguing night.

Tomahawk, Rhinelander, and Medford stand at the top of the conference respectively and are separated only by two points a piece.

The Hatchets currently have 14 points, the Hodags have 12, and the Raiders have 10. Lakeland stands 5th in the conference with six points.

Tomahawk, though is undefeated in conference duals and has the fastest swimmers in every category in the program, so they are clearly the team the beat. 

Kylee Theiler of Tomahawk is the top conference swimmer in the 200 yard freestyle, the 100 yard butterfly and the 500 yard freestyle. 

Lakeland’s best shot at beating her is with Rylee Ahlborn, the fifth fastest swimmer in the conference in the 200 yard freestyle and the sixth fastest in the 500 yard freestyle. She could give Theiler a run for her money in those races  

The Thunderbirds also have a chance with Mariah Angove in the 200 yard freestyle, as she is ranked seventh, and Naomi Hamerla in the 100 yard butterfly where she is ranked sixth.

For head coach Chris Garcia, though, the conference meet is not only challenging because of the competition, but because of the scoring system going in. 

“What makes it difficult is that for each dual meet a team will get two points for a win and these points carry into the conference meet,” Garcia said. “I completely disagree with this set up for various reasons, but no one should go into the conference meet with an advantage. This used to be the case with the boys season but it was taken out a few years back.” 

Still, Garcia is more than happy to be hosting the event.

“We have a small group of seniors this year, only three compared to eight from last year. It is nice for them that we will be hosting conference so they still have a home meet yet to swim at.”

The meet starts tonight at 5 p.m. at the Lakeland Union high school pool.

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