The Rhinelander High School boys' swimming team was looking to chart their first win on the season on Tuesday night, but yet again a lack of depth and rigorous early schedule would get in the way. The Hodags would fall on the road to Shawano 102-69 in a Great Northern Conference dual.
RHS assistant swim coach Megan Cihla led the team on the night, after Coach Lindsay Byrka unable to attend due illness. It also marked Rhinelander’s fifth meet in about a two-week span, which included the Hodag Relays. RHS is now 0-4 in the GNC standings.
Leading the way was Russell Benoy and Nolan Francis who was back in the lineup after missing the Hodag Relays last Saturday. Both Francis and Benoy charted two individual wins for Rhinelander.
In the 200-yard freestyle, Benoy would cruise to a 13-second victory, clocking in at 2 minutes, 7.52 seconds over Tommy Rankin. And Benoy also added a win in the 100-freestyle edging freshman Peter Fuller with a time of 56.49.
Once again Francis cracked the minute mark in the 100 butterfly, finishing first with a time of 59.83, beating out James Krueger. But the 100 backstroke, Francis had a much larger win over Krueger, this time beating him by just over six seconds with a time of 1:00.58.
But one of the most impressive swims of the night came from Thaddeus Heck in a runner-up finish for the Hodags in the 100-breaststroke. Heck hit the wall about two seconds shy of state qualifier Griffin Rades.
Martin Hoger would add another first-place finish for Rhinelander, his being in the 500 freestyle. Hoger finished with a time of 6:07.65 which approximately eight-and-a-half seconds ahead of runner up Angeli Connor of Shawano.
The Hodags also would earn second place in all three relays of the night. The team of Hoger, Heck, Francis, and Devon Gaber placing second in the 200 medley at 1:56.80. While Gaber, Heck, Benoy, and David King came together in the 200 freestyle for another runner up finish. And in the 400 freestyle Benoy, Hoger, King, and Francis earned second at 3:52.72.
Rhinelander will be back in the pool on Thursday to host Medford, and it will also mark their final meet before the holiday break. Although the RHS boys’ swim team will have about three weeks off from competition they will still be training to get better and push for a strong second half of the season.