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Despite loss, a solid start for boys swim team

Despite loss, a solid start for boys swim team Despite loss, a solid start for boys swim team


The Medford Raiders got the new boys swim season off to a positive start by winning four races in an 86-72 loss to Shawano in Tuesday’s season opener at the MASH pool.

Two relay wins, two individual wins by Josh Bergmann and just having a couple of more swimmers than Medford was enough to get the Hawks into the Great Northern Conference win column in the league’s only dual of opening night. The teams split their two meetings a year ago.

“I was really happy with how we swam tonight,” Medford head coach Shari Bergman said after the meet. “We have a great group of guys. These seniors, I’ve had them since elementary school with club seasons. They’re a good group of guys. I can’t say enough good things about them. We’ll just keep plugging along, fix a few things that we need some work on and get that endurance going so that it helps us to maintain leads.”

Several competitive races helped make it a positive opening meet for both teams.

It started right away with the 200-yard medley relay where the Raiders’ Ethan Kraemer (backstroke), Jacob Mitchell (breaststroke), Abe Miller (butterfly) and Tahtankka Damm (freestyle) won the race by 0.03 seconds in 2:04.66. Damm had just enough in the tank to hold off Shawano’s freestyler Carson Cummings at the end.

“Honestly, we almost rock-paper-scissored Abe and Tahtankka to see where they’d swim,” Bergman said. “They’re so identical with some of their times right now. I was really happy with our win in the medley. We had some really nice split times for the first meet.” Damm got Medford’s second win of the meet by taking the 50-yard freestyle in a personal-best 26.81 seconds. He beat the Hawks’ Brenden Stempa by 0.54 seconds. Raider Nathan Sislo was fourth in 29.59 seconds, his best-ever time in the event.

“We’ve tweaked (Damm) a little bit,” Bergman said. “In years past, he would lose his leads on the flip turns. He’d still be underwater and everyone else would be on top already starting their stroke. It’s got to be a fast flip and get off that wall. He did a nice job with that tonight.”

Miller pulled away to easily win the 100-yard butterfly in 1:14.8, while Ethan Kraemer added a third-place time of 1:31.98. Those results, five events into the meet, gave Medford a 36-35 lead at the time. The Raiders were still within 44-43 after the next event, the 100-yard freestyle, where Damm was second in 1:02.87, 1.86 seconds behind Shawano’s Jack Reed, Sislo was fourth in 1:10.82 and Dylan Kraemer was fifth in 1:20.95.

Miller later led Medford in the 100yard backstroke with a second-place time of 1:23.81, while Ethan Kraemer was third in 1:28.26. Shawano’s Braden Barkley won in 1:18.72. It was Miller’s first time in the event in his high-school career.

Freshman Adam Swedlund got Medford’s fourth win as he and Mitchell took the top two spots in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:23.57 and 1:24.33.

“Adam is going to become a real key part of the team,” Bergman said. “As a freshman, coming in and taking first place with a 1:23.57, that was a great boost of enthusiasm for him. I see him and Jacob really fighting over that spot. Jacob’s got a faster 50 and Adam’s got a faster 100.”

Earlier in the meet, Swedlund took third in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:54.81, while Mitchell was fourth in 3:04.36.

Raider senior Isaac Dittrich earned a pair of long-distance seconds. He swam the 200-yard freestyle in 2:33 to finish behind Bergmann (2:11.91). Dylan Kraemer was fourth in 2:54.14. Bergmann won the 500-yard freestyle in 6:24.86, while Dittrich was second at 7:19.88.

Swedlund started the 200-yard freestyle with a personal-best split of 28.57 seconds. He, Sislo, Dylan Kraemer and Dittrich finished second in 2:05.03 in a race won by Shawano’s top team in 1:52.29. Dittrich, Miller, Ethan Kraemer and Damm swam the 400-yard freestyle relay in 4:54.13 to take second, while Dylan Kraemer, Sislo, Swedlund and Mitchell were fourth in 5:22.41. Shawano’s A team won in 4:25.14.

The Raiders are at Great Northern Conference favorite Rhinelander today, Thursday, and will be at Lakeland Dec. 10. Meets against Antigo that were initially on the schedule for Dec. 8 and 15 have been canceled as the Red Robins will not field a team this season.

Medford’s Tahtankka Damm gets a breath and gets ready to make a flip turn during his leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay Tuesday. Isaac Dittrich, Abe Miller, Ethan Kraemer and Damm finished in 4:54.13 to take second behind Shawano’s A team (4:25.14).MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS