Sectional champs again!
Karis Francis, Ellyse Younker, Abi Winnicki, Celia Francis, Lily Thorsen and Vivian Lamers along with Millie Gruett broke nine pool records at the Merrill pool. Bob Mainhardt photo
Swimmers break records, head to state meet
Bob Mainhardt photos
Merrill hosted the 14-team sectional swim meet Saturday. The Hodags went in as the favorite and lived up to the hype as the girls won or shared first place in all 11 events.
The only event to not win outright was the 50 yard freestyle that finished with a tie as the Hodags’ Vivian Lamers and Tomahawk’s Paige Dekiep tied with a time of 24.73 seconds.
The only other close race was the 500 yard freestyle. Emma Houg out touched Merrill’s Olivia Pajtash by .05 seconds to earn the automatic bid to the state tournament next Friday. Lamers placed second in the 100 freestyle and also first in the 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays.
Three Hodags earned automatic bids in four events
•Abi Winnicki won the 100 and 200 yard freestyle and was part of the 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays.
• Fellow senior Karis Francis won the 100 butterfly and breaststroke and was part of the winning 200 yard Medley relay and the 400 yard freestyle relay.
• Celia Francis, a freshman, won the 200 yard IM and the 100 yard backstroke and was part of the 200 medley relay and the 400 yard freestyle relay.
The Hodags set new pool records in nine of the 11 events at Merrill. Of the two that remained, the 500 yard freestyle still belongs to Hodag Karen Burton from 1979 and the 50 freestyle was set last year by Reece Dickman of Wittenberg-Birnamwood. The oldest record broken was the 100 yard backstroke set in 1991, broken by Celia Francis.
The Hodags have 19 entries advancing to the state meet out of the 21 entries at the sectional.