Rhinelander swimmers take firm grip of GNC with win over Tomahawk: Travis Phillips breaks old school record going 1:49.81 in 200 free

By Jed Buelow

Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports and Nature Editor

The top two boys’ swim teams in the Great Northern Conference met up for a big conference tilt in Hodag Country Thursday and Rhinelander remained undefeated taking down Tomahawk 109-60.

The score was nearly the same as it was back on Dec. 3 when the Hodags was in town for the GNC opener. Hatchet head coach Marion Kohl said they had hoped to narrow the gap this time around, however the loss of two Hatchet swimmers, one unexpectedly to illness and the other for medical reasons, Tomahawk was unable to fulfill that goal.

“We will see them again next Saturday at the Ashwaubenon Jaguar Invite as well as again in Rhinelander as they host the GNC Conference Championship Meet,” Kohl said. “So we’ll have ample opportunities to hopefully improve the outcome.”

Despite the score, Tomahawk did turn in some impressive performances in Hodag Country including a new school record to go along with some other very exciting races and a close relay win to finish the night.

The new school record 200-yard freestyle was set by a familiar face, as senior Travis Phillips absolutely destroyed his old record by swimming a 1st place finish in a time of 1:49.81. His old record in the event had been a 1:54.34. The Hatchets actually earned both top spots in the event as Phillips was followed to the finish line by senior Keaton Jed for 2nd and to complete the 1-2-scoring punch.

In what would prove to be a very exciting race, T. Phillips would also take the top honors in the 100 free in a time of 49.44. The 1st place swim was only about 1.5 seconds faster than the Hodag’s Devon Gaber in 50.93.

Freshman Zach Hanse had his work cut out for him in Rhinelander, swimming for a pair of hard fought 2nd place finishes in the 200 IM as well as the 100 breaststroke.

After 2nd place finishes in the two other relays, Tomahawk would finish out the night on a high note in what would prove to be the most exciting race of the evening. With Rhinelander already firmly in control on the scoreboard, the Hatchets were able to pull out a win from behind in the 400 free relay by the team of K. Jed, Caleb Kretzschmar, Brady Tjugum and T. Phillips as they ended up with the top spot at the very end of the race with a time of 3:40.13 – only 1.16 seconds ahead of the Hodag relay team.

The win improved Rhinelander’s record to 5-0 while Tomahawk remains tied for 2nd place in the conference with Lakeland with a record 4-2.

The Hatchet swimmers take on Antigo (0-4-1) this Thursday, Jan. 9 for a GNC matchup at Hatchet Pool that begins at 5:30 p.m. Then on Saturday, Jan. 11 they travel to Ashwaubenon to take part in the Jaguar Invite featuring 12 Division 1 and Division 2 schools that begins at 1 p.m.

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