PORTAGE — Having dropped its last two dual meets by a combined four points, the Baraboo girls swim team was in need of a pick-me-up.

The Thunderbirds got just that Tuesday night, racing to a 124-44 rout of Portage in a Badger North Conference dual meet at Rusch Elementary School. Baraboo won nine of the 11 events, including seven sweeps, despite being in a lot of distress from practice.

“It’s always nice to add another win and they’re all really sore,” Baraboo head coach Lynn Keeling said. “We just said let’s go in and race tonight and not worry about our times. I thought they looked strong and they fought to the end.”

The T-Birds darted out of the gates, sweeping two of the first four events to build a comfortable 47-19 lead at the break. Baraboo wasn’t finished, sweeping the first three events out of the intermission to go up 76-32.

Kirby Tock got things started as the junior eased to a win in the 100-meter butterfly with a top time of 1 minutes, 8.39 seconds, with senior Mackenzie Koehler finishing second (1:12.68). Junior Hannah Vittengl then took first in the 100 freestyle (1:04.75), with freshman Naomi Pelland (1:06.13) and junior Eva Frank (1:08.93) rounding out the top three.

Emily Bradley kept the wins coming as the sophomore recorded a victory in the 400 freestyle behind a time of 5:10.31, just seconds ahead of senior Leah Erdman (5:15.48).

With a comfortable margin, Baraboo didn’t slow down. The T-Birds won the final four events, including a sweep in the 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay, to put things out of reach.

“We have all the bases covered now in every event,” Keeling said. “They tried up some different events tonight and split up the relays so they raced each other. Portage had a couple good races and I was happy that we had some competition.”

“We’ve had a really tough couple weeks of practice, but we’ve kept strong and had a positive attitude so it was nice to see some solid swims tonight,” added Tock, who also won the 200 individual medley in 2:39.95.

Even though the victory is a breath of fresh air given the team’s last two dual meet losses, a pair of 86-84 defeats to DeForest and Waunakee, the T-Birds have a long road ahead. According to Keeling, the T-Birds know that the end goal is successful conference and sectional meets, and Friday’s result shows the team has what it takes to achieve just that.

“If they can swim like this now, when they feel great and are rested, it will be so fun to watch,” she said.

While the rest will surely help, Koehler knows that the team can’t rest on its laurels. The senior, who won the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:12.03, said that the T-Birds still need to work hard despite having lighter workouts and remain attentive outside of practice.

“It’s more to do with us personally rather than the training,” she said. “We all do a good job in the pool; it’s just staying focused out of the pool.”

BARABOO 124, PORTAGE 44

Winners and Baraboo results: 200-meter medley relay — 1, Baraboo (Schick, E. Bradley, Koehler, H. Vittengl), 2:17.42; 2, Baraboo (Riem, M. Vittengl, Letendre, Crum), 2:21.79; 3, Baraboo (Erdman, Kothbauer, Hess, Goeckermann), 2:34.04. 200 freestyle — 1, Miller, P, 2:20.23; 2, T. Bradley, B, 2:22.79; 3, E. Bradley, 2:30.92; 4, Weyenberg, B, 2:41.78. 200 individual medley — 1, Tock, B, 2:39.95; 2, Pelland, B, 2:44.12; 3, Erdman, B, 2:55.05. 50 freestyle — 1, Schultz, P, 29.98; 2, Crum, B, 30.64; 3, Riem, B, 30.81; 4, Frank, B, 31.44. 100 butterfly — 1, Tock, B, 1:08.39; 2, Koehler, B, 1:12.68. 100 freestyle — 1, H. Vittengl, B, 1:04.75; 2, Pelland, B, 1:06.13; 3, Frank, B, 1:08.93. 400 freestyle — 1, E. Bradley, B, 5:10.31; 2, Erdman, B, 5:15.48. 200 freestyle relay — 1, Baraboo (Pelland, Crum, Frank, Tock), 2:01.00; 2, Baraboo (H. Vittengl, T. Bradley, Goeckermann, M. Vittengl), 2:02.83; 4, Baraboo (Hess, Brandhagn, Weyenberg, Kothbauer), 2:18.98. 100 backstroke — 1, Koehler, B, 1:12.03; 3, Letendre, B, 1:16.60; 4, Schick, B, 1:16.72. 100 breaststroke — 1, T. Bradley, B, 1:20.91; 2, H. Vittengl, B, 1:23.39; 3, Crum, B, 1:28.66. 400 freestyle relay — 1, Baraboo (Koehler, Frank, Goeckermann, Tock), 4:33.54; 2, Baraboo (Pelland, M. Vittengl, E. Bradley, T. Bradley), 4:38.36; 3, Baraboo (Riem, Schick, Letendre, Erdman), 4:48.35.

Follow Sean Davis on Twitter @SDavis_PDR