The Baraboo Riptide swimming team certainly looked comfortable in its own pool this weekend.
Hundreds of swimmers and spectators flocked to the Jack Young Middle School Indoor Pool on Saturday and Sunday for the annual Tri-County Conference swim meet, where Baraboo swam to a third-place finish out of eight area teams. It was a two-spot improvement from last year’s meet.
“We did really well,” Riptide coach Heather Frank said. “Really excited about our relays, looking at times and once everything gets seeded, we were like OK, we’ve got some work to do. And oh my gosh, they came out fighting, just awesome. The start of the meet kind of set the tone. It was like that medley relay was ‘OK, it’s go time’ and they all did awesome.”
Baraboo’s 8-and-under group of Grace Carter, Emily Hansen, Katrina Voronecky and Abrianna Gehrke took fifth in the girls 100-yard medley relay (1:39.92) to grab 30 points for the overall team score, while Coslon Zimmerman, William Stelling, Gun Hill and Gavin Bradley took fourth in the boys race (1:50.45) for 32 points.
“What was really, really great for us this year was our 8-and-under group really stepped up this year,” Frank said. “With the structure of our practices being a little bit different, we were able to spend more kind of alone time with them, which really helped. We had some families gone from last year that came back, so that helped us. Just as a team, everything kind of fell into place for us.”
Ava Reufer, Bella Brown, Kennedy Klongland and Maggie Holiday followed with a second place in the girls 9-10 200 medley relay (2:33.8). Matthew Makowski, Simon Stuczynski, Isaac Stelzer and Aidan Belschner added another fourth place (3:01.15) in the boys 9-10 version, while McKenzie Stute, Bianca Brown, Hallie Kepple and Nadine Klaetsch took second in the girls 11-12 relay (2:14.74).
George Letendre, Ryan Reuter, Logan Bradley and Gabe Shepherd took third in the boys race (2:23.63); Natalie Gneiser, Rachel Laux, Mattie Letendre and Lauren Macomber took second in the girls 13-14 race (2:01); Nic Riesterer, Brady Henry, Luke Statz and Seth Hittman took fourth in the boys version (2:03.6); while Caroline Schick, Taylor Bradley, Kirby Tock and Naomi Pelland took second in the girls 15-18 event (1:54.63). Jakob Lemke, Jacob Laux, Mitchell Hamm and Ethan Klingenmeyer wound up with a sixth place in the final medley relay event, but it still gave the team another 28 points.
Frank said team depth came into play in the opening medley relays.
“Sometimes some of (the swimmers) feel like, ‘Well I’m not the fastest swimmer,’ and you don’t have to be the fastest swimmer. Because we all put our two cents’ worth in,” she said. “If everyone puts their two cents in, we have a million-dollar team.”
Those two cents came into play on numerous occasions, as the top five relay finishers grabbed at least 20 points or more while every individual finisher in the finals earned points no matter the placement.
Individually, Klongland took home three first-place finishes in the girls 9-10 category. She took first in the 50 backstroke (34.32), the 100 individual medley (1:16.78) and the 50 breaststroke (40.51). But she wasn’t the only highlight for Baraboo on the day, as Taylor Bradley came away with a new conference record in the girls 15-18 50 breaststroke. Bradley swam to first place with a time of 30.54, which snapped a 19-year-long record set by Lauren Breunig in 1999 (31.15).
Other top three individual finishers for Baraboo included Voronecky in the girls 8-and-under 25 freestyle (third, 17.17); Natalie Gneiser in the girls 13-14 50 back (first, 28.5) and the 50 breast (first, 31.88); Taylor Bradley in the girls 15-18 100 IM (third, 1:03.13); Jacob Laux in the boys 15-18 100 IM (third, 59.07); Colton Klongland in the boys 8-and-under 25 breaststroke (third, 14.19); Stute in the girls 11-12 50 breast (third, 36.48); and Tock in the girls 15-18 50 butterfly (second, 26.44).
Sunday’s finals ended with the freestyle relay, where Baraboo tacked on many more points. Gehrke, Carter, Molly Holiday and Voronecky took sixth in the girls 8-and-under 100 (1:28.14); Ruefer, Presley Zimmerman, Maggie Holiday and Bella Brown took third in the girls 9-10 200 (2:20.97); Henri Letendre, Sam Schick, Simon Stuczynski and Sean Sutfin took fourth in the boys 9-10 200 (2:43.78); Stute, Karlie Wegner, Bianca Brown and Nadine Klaetsch took fifth in the girls 11-12 200 (2:07.33); Logan Bradley, Alekz Makowski, Michael Barahona and Shepherd took third in the boys 11-12 200 (2:07.87); Rachel Laux, Clare Stuczynski, Maria Vittengl and Lauren Macomber took fourth in the girls 13-14 200 (1:53.09); Luke Statz, Derek Gehin, Riesterer and Hittman took first in the boys 13-14 200 (1:45.88); Izzy Dubray, Eva Frank, Naomi Pelland and Taylor Bradley took second in the girls 15-18 200 (1:46.21); and Jasper Swallen, Hamm, Klingenmeyer and Josh Hackbarth took fourth in the boys race (1:34.82).
Overall, the Riptide took third with 1,723.5 points. Cross Plains won the championship with 2,804.5, while Sun Prairie took second (2,570). Mount Horeb was fourth (1,587), followed by Spring Green (1,338), Sauk Prairie (1,272), Mazomanie (873) and Wisconsin Dells (642).
“All season, the kids have been swimming really well, so coming in we thought the kids have a good chance,” Frank said. “Everyone had their game faces on this weekend.”