The Baraboo boys swimming team got it done individually and as a group on Saturday.

The host Thunderbirds placed third out of 12 teams at the WIAA Division 2 sectional meet at Jack Young Middle School. Baraboo qualified for next weekend’s state meet in all three relays and seven individual events, compiling 258 points to finish behind defending state champion Monona Grove (376) and Madison Edgewood (300).

“It was a really good day,” Baraboo coach Chris Lemke said. “At least in recent memory, it’s the greatest sectional finish we’ve ever had.”

The T-Birds haven’t finished in the top three at sectionals since they took third behind McFarland and Oregon at the 2007 WIAA Division 2 sectional meet in Baraboo.

“Team matters and these guys understand that,” Lemke said. “It’s all about the team.

“That’s the great thing about high school swimming. It’s still a team sport.”

Event winners automatically qualified for state, along with the next 12 best times across the four Division 2 sectionals. Sophomore Aidan Lohr won Baraboo’s lone sectional title and automatic berth, touching the wall in 52.93 seconds to edge out Monona Grove’s Eric Storms (:53.70) in the 100-yard backstroke.

Lohr will be seeded first when he enters the water at the state meet at the UW Natatorium in Madison on Friday.

“Eric’s a fabulous swimmer, but we told Aidan ‘You can swim with him; you can push him,’ and he did exactly that,” Lemke said.

Lohr nearly won a sectional title in the 200 individual medley as well, touching the wall in 1:57.75 to finish second to Madison Edgewood’s Truman teDuits (1:57.29). Lohr will be seeded third at state, behind teDuits and Brown Deer/University School of Milwaukee’s Ben Hayes (1:52.57).

Lohr teamed with Jacob Laux, Luke Stelling and Ethan Klingenmeyer to finish third in the day’s first swimming event, the 200 medley relay, with a time of 1 minute, 43.16 seconds.

Klingenmeyer and Laux teamed up with Jasper Swallen and Josh Hackbarth to take fourth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:33.11), while Hackbarth, Josef Kohlman, Swallen and Lohr placed fourth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:24.88) as all three squads made it through to Madison.

“We liked what we saw at conference and we stuck with that,” Lemke said of the relay lineups. “It’s really about chemistry and how they work together.”

Lohr will be competing in four events at state for the second straight year. He took ninth in the 100 backstroke (:55.09) and 11th in the 200 individual medley (2:02.53) as a freshman last season.

“I know he wants to go back and do better,” Lemke said. “He knows now that he can do it. We talk about confidence, and confidence isn’t knowing you can win, it’s knowing that you have the ability to do what you need to do. He proved that to himself.”

Swallen will also have a full slate at state. The senior qualified in a pair of individual events, taking sixth at sectionals in the 200 freestyle (1:52.67) and eighth in the 500 freestyle (5:07.09).

“That’s probably the first Baraboo 500 swimmer to qualify in at least seven or eight years,” Lemke said. “That’s a very competitive race. If you want to qualify, you’ve got to work hard. He set that goal probably about a year ago and he did it.

“We are very, very proud of that. That was definitely one of the highlights.”

Hackbarth got through easily in the 200 freestyle. The junior took second in the event, using a time of 1:49.65 to finish just behind Monona Grove’s Ben McDade (1:42.02).

“Josh Hackbarth had a great 200 free,” Lemke said. “He dropped about four seconds. That was his goal, to return to state.”

Hackbarth, who took 14th in the 200 freestyle at state last season, will also compete in the 100 freestyle this time around after placing fifth at sectionals with a time of 49.48 seconds.

Laux qualified in the 100 breaststroke, using a time of 1:03.80 to place fifth at sectionals.

“For him to do that as a freshman was great,” Lemke said.

Laux also took sixth in the 100 butterfly, but his time of 57.70 seconds was just short of qualifying for state.

Also competing for Baraboo at sectionals were Klingenmeyer in the 100 breaststroke (seventh, 1:06.58) and the 50 freestyle (10th, :23.51), Stelling in the 100 butterfly (eighth, :59.86), Kohlman in the 100 backstroke (10th, 1:00.46) and the 100 freestyle (17th, :53.77), Jakob Lemke in the 500 freestyle (12th, 5:19.19) and the 200 freestyle (14th, 1:58.22), Mitchell Hamm in the 200 freestyle (15th, 1:58.89), Mitch Hoppe in the 100 butterfly (17th, 1:11.18) and Nash Brickl in the 100 backstroke (21st, 1:18.18).

Baraboo still has some work to do before the state meet begins Friday with diving at 2:30 and the first swimming event at 6:30. Lemke said that the T-Birds will get back in the pool Monday and close out the season with a strong week of practice. The T-Birds will hold a practice on Friday morning, have a team breakfast and then return to the high school to be sent off to state.

“It’s 14 weeks of extremely hard work to get there and try to earn your way into the big show,” Lemke said. “But we try to keep it all business on deck. We want to have fun, but we’ve got goals.”

WIAA DIV. 2 BARABOO SWIM SECTIONAL

Team scores: Monona Grove 376, Madison Edgewood 300, Baraboo 258, McFarland 196, DeForest 185, Fort Atkinson 165, Stoughton 142, Milton 140, Oregon 139, Whitewater 124, Platteville Lancaster 94, Jefferson/Cambridge 38.

State qualifiers

Diving: 1, Stitgen, ME, 447.80. 2, Blew, MG, 374.45. 3, O’Conner, ME, 289.65.

200 medley relay: 1, Monona Grove (Storms, Jo. Douberly, Geissler, Sackett), 1:39.75. 2, Madison Edgewood, 1:40.25. 3, Baraboo (Lohr, Laux, Stelling, Klingenmeyer), 1:43.16. 4, DeForest, 1:43.43. 5, Oregon, 1:43.98. 6, McFarland, 1:44.29.

200 freestyle: 1, McDade, MG, 1:42.02. 2, Hackbarth, Bar, 1:49.65. 3, Moen, ME, 1:50.93. 4, Lohmeier, O, 1:51.03. 5, Bethard, FA, 1:52.32. 6, Swallen, Bar, 1:52.67. 7, Millam, Sto, 1:52.87.

200 individual medley: 1, teDuits, ME, 1:57.29. 2, Lohr, Bar, 1:57.75. 3, Slane, McF, 2:01.87. 4, Jo. Douberly, MG, 2:02.40. 5, Liang, Whi, 2:02.41.

50 freestyle: 1, Sackett, MG, :22.12. 2, Lippiatt, MG, :22.29. 3, Frucht, ME, :22.46. 4, Mansavage, FA, :22.50. 5, Beyer, ME, :22.81. 6, Maffiola, FA, :22.82. 7, Burgener, Def, :22.84.

100 butterfly: 1, Storms, MG, :53.36. 2, Burgener, DeF, :53.97. 3, Geissler, MG, :55.57. 4, Clark, Sto, :55.71.

100 freestyle: 1, Mansavage, FA, :48.48. 2, teDuits, ME, :48.50. 3, Lippiatt, MG, :49.06. 4, Sackett, MG, :49.35. 5, Hackbarth, Bar, :49.48. 6, Lohmeier, O, :50.08. 7, Fons, Mil, :50.09. 8, Beyer, ME, :50.65.

500 freestyle: 1, McDade, MG, 4:36.29. 2, Ramminger, DeF, 4:48.92. 3, Frucht, ME, 4:50.10. 4, Landolt, McF, 5:01.68. 5, Ja. Douberly, MG, 5:02.58. 6, Schaller, McF, 5:02.94. 7, Al. Slane, 5:05.82. 8, Swallen, Bar, 5:07.09.

200 freestyle relay: 1, Monona Grove (Sackett, Geissler, Lippiatt, McDade), 1:29.24. 2, Fort Atkinson, 1:31.90. 3, Madison Edgewood, 1:32.85. 4, Baraboo (Klingenmeyer, Swallen, Laux, Hackbarth), 1:33.11. 5, Milton, 1:33.91.

100 backstroke: 1, Lohr, Bar, :52.93. 2, Storms, MG, :53.70. 3, Ramminger, DeF, :54.76. 4, Moen, ME, :55.54. 5, Fons, Mil, :57.52. 6, Landolt, McF, :58.08. 7, O’Conner, ME, :58.67.

100 breaststroke: 1, Liang, Whi, :59.82. 2, Slane, McF, 1:01.59. 3, Jo. Douberly, MG, 1:02.55. 4, Geissler, MG, 1:03.57. 5, Laux, Bar, 1:03.80.

400 freestyle relay: 1, Monona Grove (Lippiatt, Ja. Douberly, Jo. Douberly, McDade), 3:17.64. 2, Madison Edgewood, 3:21.94. 3, Fort Atkinson, 3:24.06. 4, Baraboo (Hackbarth, Kohlman, Swallen, Lohr), 3:24.88. 5, McFarland, 3:25.01. 6, Stoughton, 3:27.42. 7, DeForest, 3:28.66.

Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz

Capital Newspapers Regional Sports Reporter