Not even the weather could bring down the Rhinelander High School girls' swim team on Thursday evening as they cruised their second Great Northern Conference victory of the year. The Hodags defeated Lakeland 94-76 and won seven events and added a new pool record in a weather delayed conference dual.
The meet came to a stop just under an hour into the events, when RHS activities director Brian Paulson made the announcement. Due to the lightning and the age of the Heck Family Community pool, the insurance company was not sure if the pool was properly grounded so no one was able to be in the pool. After a thirty minute delay, the meet resumed where they won four of the final five events of the night.
But the biggest headline of the night came in the opening event where the Hodags broke a 26-year old pool record in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of Lisa Kennedy, Malia Francis, Makenna Winnicki, and Maria Heck would win the 200-medley relay with a time of 1 minute, 54.46 seconds. The Hodags surpassed the previous pool record by 0.26 seconds which was set back in 1993.
Francis played a role in four wins for Rhinelander including a pair of individual event wins and was also part of two relay wins. Along with winning 200-medley relay, Francis was also part of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay with teammates Noelle St. Pierre, Sierra Woodford, and Winnicki. The Hodags clocked in with a time of 1:43.93. The RHS sophomore also won the 200-IM (2:10.37) and 100-free (55.18). Francis was was also within 0.57 seconds of the pool record in the 200-IM, which was set by her older sister Kiah Francis in 2016.
Winnicki, a junior led a 1-2 finish for Rhinelander in the 500-freestyle with a time of 5:35.26. Sophomore Heck was runner-up with a time of 6:02.90. And following the 500, Kennedy added a win in the 100-backstroke (1:03.02) and St. Pierre took the 100-breaststroke (1:14.05).
Rhinelander also added a number of close second place finishes including the 50-free where Winnicki was edged by Lakeland's Rylee Ahlborn by 0.01 seconds and finished runner-up at 26.12 seconds. Ahlborn also beat out St. Pierre in the 200-free by 1.34 seconds. Lakeland also won the final 400-free relay cracking four minutes with a time of 3:59.93 to beat out the Hodag team of Heck, Woodford, Kennedy, and St. Pierre.
The Hodags also had a number of swimmer contribute points on the night by finishing third to fifth place. Senior Marisa McGuire was part of three third place finishes on the night; 50-free, 100-breast, and the 200-medley relay team which included freshman Genna Fugle, freshman Phoebe Moran, and freshman Abigale Johnson. After Kennedy's runner-up finish in the 100-fly, McGuire placed fourth and senior Allysa Schueremann took fifth. Fugle was fourth in the 200-free and fifth in the 100-breast. Woodford was third in the 200-IM and placed fourth in the 100-free. Senior Jaylen Janssen added a pair of fifth place finishes in the 100-back and 200-free. And Johnson finished fifth in the 100-free and Moran also fifth in the 200-IM.
Rhinelander will be in action this morning when they host the five-team Hodag Relays. The invite is set to begin at 11:00AM at the Heck Family Community Pool.