The Iola-Scandinavia Thunderbird swim team made the long drive to Rhinelander well worth it Saturday, Jan. 15, with the second-place trophy from the seven-team invitational.
The Wausau Woodson YMCA Green Dolphins won the meet, while the T-Birds finished ahead of Rhinelander, Wittenberg, Marathon, Phillips and the U.P. Barracudas.
“We knew going in we couldn’t match Wausau’s depth because they had 78 swimmers,” coach Dick Wright said. “Our 41 kids swam exceptionally well and were able to stay close to Wausau and well ahead of all the other teams.”
The team claimed 24 first-place finishes – more than any other team – out of 74 events.
“This was overall probably our best meet ever,” Wright said. “A lot of kids attended and we had a huge number of personal best times. I am really proud of these kids.”
Ana Holder, Elisabeth Sullivan, Eli Stevens, Tayler Carlson and Kaitlyn Kostuch led the 8-and-under group. Holder won the 25-yard freestyle and butterfly and placed third in the 50 freestyle; Sullivan won the 50 freestyle, took second in the backstroke and placed third in the 25 freestyle; Carlson won the 25 breaststroke; Stevens recorded a third in the breaststroke; and Kostuch had two top-five finishes.
Dylan Kostuch and Jessica Gutschow led the 9- and 10-year-olds. Kostuch won the boys’ 100 freestyle, took second in the 50 freestyle and backstroke and placed third in the 50 breaststroke; and Gutschow won the girls’ 50 and 100 freestyle races, took second in the 100 individual medley and placed third in the 50 breaststroke.
Mitch Glodowski, Daniel Parks and Ethan Olson led the 11-12 group. Glodowski won all four of his events (50 and 100 freestyle, 100 IM and 50 butterfly) with personal bests in three of the races; Parks recorded thirds in the butterfly and backstroke; and Olson added three top-six finishes.
Zach Shulfer, Morgan Glodowski and Ben Gutschow led the 13-14 group. Shulfer won the 50 and 100 freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke; Glodowski topped the girls in the 50 freestyle and breaststroke and took second in the IM; and Gutschow on the IM, took second in the 100 freestyle and breaststroke and placed third in the 50 freestyle.
Tyler Faldet, John Faldet, Powers Spees, Robbie Van Zeeland and Teresa Sprangers led the 15-18 group. Tyler Faldet won the 200 IM, placed second in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke and took third in the 100 freestyle; John Faldet took seconds in the 100 freestyle and breaststroke and took third in the 50 freestyle; Spees won the 100 breaststroke and took fourth in the 50 and 100 freestyle; Van Zeeland took second in the 100 butterfly; and Sprangers took fourth in the 100 backstroke and placed fifth in two other events.
The T-Birds also won five of the 10 relays and finished second in two others.
“Once again, our depth with our boys’ team made a huge difference,” Wright said. “The boys’ point total more than doubled the next closest team and our girls finished very well in this meet, as they finished second.”
Mitch and Morgan Glodowski shared Swimmer of the Meet honors.
The T-Birds will host Brillion at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Iola-Scandinavia Community Fitness & Aquatic Center. The squad will also compete in Stevens Point Saturday, Jan. 29, and will attend a large invitational Saturday, Feb. 5, in Wittenberg.