The Badger North Conference boys swim teams found themselves in the same pool for the first time this season when they competed in the Badger North Relays on Tuesday night.
It was a solid showing for host Baraboo, which took third out of six teams at Jack Young Middle School in Baraboo.
“Our slogan was ‘Make them work,’” first-year Baraboo head coach Chris Lemke said after the meet. “And that was ourselves as individuals, our teammates because we’re working together as a relay, and to make everyone else here today work. So that was our slogan and our mindset today.”
The Thunderbirds tallied 70 points to place third overall. The Sauk Prairie/Lodi/Wisconsin Heights collected 110 points to run away with the title, while Waunakee (76) took second, McFarland (62) took fourth and DeForest (60) finished fifth.
“The boys had to swim a lot tonight,” Lemke said. “Some of the guys had to swim back-to-back tonight. I’m really proud of how the guys pulled together, got themselves reset mentally and physically and were able to come back and sometimes have an even better race than they thought they could. That’s exactly what I’m looking for at this point in the season, that they get that confidence in themselves that they can do it.”
Baraboo won one event on the night, as the quartet of Aidan Lohr, Jacob Laux, Mitchell Hamm and Ethan Klingenmeyer claimed the freshman/sophomore 200-yard freestyle relay in 1 minute, 36.23 seconds.
Lohr and Laux also teamed up with Jasper Swallen to place second in the 300-yard breaststroke relay (3:25.17), finishing just behind the Sauk co-op’s trio of Logan Perry, Slater Fitzgerald and Desmon Sachtjen (3:22.97).
Sauk was dominant all day, winning six of the 10 events.
The Eagles set the tone with the 400-yard medley relay, the first event of the day. Sauk’s Ben Chao, Allan Brickl, Ayden Frey and Adam Stecker used a time of 3:49.54 to beat out second-place Baraboo, which touched the wall in 3:54.39 with Lohr, Laux, Luke Stelling and Josh Hackbarth.
The Eagles and T-Birds also took the top two spots in the 100-yard freestyle relay. Frey, Sam Beattie, Chao and Fitzgerald led Sauk to the win with a time of 45.44 seconds, while Baraboo’s Noah Tiber, Isaac Brewer, Nash Brickl and Mitchell Hoppe took second in 53.05 seconds.
The Eagles finished first and second in the 8-by-50 medley relay. Zach Guentherman, Sachtjen, Frey and Beattie finished first in 3:58.68, while Alec Buss, Daniel Bakhchevnikov, Erik Bauman and Mason Gassman took second in 4:08.98.
Sauk’s Reese Drager, Karsten Flogel, Zach Guentherman and Sachtjen won the 400-yard individual medley relay in 4:05.21. The Eagles also won the final event of the day, as Drager, Payton Fandrich, Allan Brickl and Jake Guentherman won the junior/senior 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:28.07.
Baraboo, which opened the season by taking ninth at the Sun Prairie Invitational on Saturday, got a different look at its team on Tuesday.
“We kind of moved some people around tonight, just to maximize what we could do,” Lemke said. “It helps us see them in a different event that they can maybe tackle later in the season and it lets them try something fresh.”
The Sauk co-op will be off until hosting a Badger North Conference dual against DeForest next Tuesday, while the T-Birds will compete in a nine-team invitational at Fort Atkinson on Saturday.
“After tonight, I think we have some things that we can take a look at and mix it up a bit,” Lemke said of approaching this weekend, noting that Baraboo is still focusing on building endurance. “Everything is about the end of the season in swimming. We’re going to attack every invite with all that we can give, but our real focus is a couple invites after Christmas that we want to do well at, and then it’s all about conference and sectionals.”