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January 18, 2020

Rhinelander’s Daniel Gillingham swims the 100-yard freestyle during a Great Northern Conference boys’ swim dual at Medford Thursday, Dec. 5. Gillingham won the 50 and 100 freestyle, and the Hodags won all 11 events in a 134-36 victory. (Matt Frey/Star News)
Rhinelander’s Daniel Gillingham swims the 100-yard freestyle during a Great Northern Conference boys’ swim dual at Medford Thursday, Dec. 5. Gillingham won the 50 and 100 freestyle, and the Hodags won all 11 events in a 134-36 victory. (Matt Frey/Star News)
12/7/2019 7:33:00 AM
Hodag swimmers sweep Medford in 134-36 rout

Jeremy Mayo
Sports Editor

The Rhinelander High School boys' swim team mixed up its lineup with great success on Thursday.

The Hodags won all 11 events, and added 10 runner-up finishes, in a 134-36 victory over Medford in a Great Northern Conference dual at Raider Pool.

Rhinelander swept the top three spots in four races and never looked back as 11 different swimmers had a hand in at least one first-place finish.

"I was impressed with the way they raced. They went after each different event, even if it wasn't their favorite choice. I thought, overall, it was a good experience," coach Jenny Heck said, noting that the team switched its lineup from Tuesday's win over Tomahawk with virtually no swimmer swimming the same events he did two days earlier.

Rhinelander tried to set its lineup in a way to fuel competition within the team, which was on display in the opening event - the 200-yard medley relay. The Hodags nearly hit the mix perfectly as the A relay of David King, Thaddeus Heck, Jacob Schoppe and Devon Gaber rallied to beat the B relay of Daniel Gillingham, Joseph Heck, Jack Antonuk and Charlie Heck by 0.18 seconds (1:50.12).

"That was probably one of the most exciting races of the night, I'd say - well matched, got some great splits out of the eight guys," Jenny Heck said. "I give (assistant coach) Brent (Olson) credit for that one and let him put together some relays that would compete. He was like, 'Wow, good job to me on that one.' He did a great job getting that set up. Sometimes they work out better than others and that one turned out just like we wanted."

Rhinelander first 1-2-3 sweep of the night came in the 50 freestyle where freshmen Gillingham (24.25) and Antonuk (25.05) edged senior David King to the wall. After intermission, the Hodags went 1-2-3 in the 100 butterfly with Jacob Schoppe (1:05.99), Gavin Ostermann and Charlie Heck. David King (5:42.29), Thaddeus Heck and Devon Gaber swept the top three spots in the 500 freestyle. Charlie Heck (1:10.31), Carter Gaber and Eli Lundt - a trio of freshmen - went 1-2-3 in the 100 backstroke.

"It's nice to see those freshmen and the new swimmers really step up and have immediate impact on the points," coach Heck said. "I think they're having fun with it and we're appreciating the fact that we can move them around and they're doing well wherever we put them. Gavin Ostermann did a great job in the 100 fly, touched out Charlie (Heck) by a tenth of a second and he had never swam it before. He really did well with a 1:09."

Thaddeus Heck (2:24.97) went 1-2 in the 200 individual medley. Gillingham (55.67) and Antonuk went 1-2 in the 100 freestyle. Joseph Heck led Jacob Schoppe to a 1-2 finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.59) and also won the 200 freestyle (2:05.66).

In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Joseph Heck, Carter Gaber, Cooper Kovac and Schoppe (1:43.15) beat out teammates Antonuk, Ashton Cole, David King and Ostermann by roughly four seconds for the win. Gillingham, Ostermann, Charlie Heck and Marcus O'Malley won the 400 freestyle relay (4:01.94) by roughly 11 1/2 seconds over Devon Gaber, Kovac, Thaddeus Heck and Carter Gaber.

With Medford's six-lane pool, and very few JV races, Jenny Heck noted the meet moved quickly - taking barely more than one hour to complete.

"Our guys were gassed by the end just because it went so fast," she said. "They weren't purposely going fast, it just kind of zipped along ... We lifted weights this morning at 6:15 and I think by that fourth event we could kind of see that."

Rhinelander (2-0 Great Northern) opens its home schedule this coming Thursday as it takes on Antigo at the Heck Family Community Pool.

Jeremy Mayo may be reached at

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