Travis Phillips wins 50 Free to become Tomahawk’s first State Swim Champion: Hatchet boys’ swim team scores 52 points in Madison for 17th place
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports and Nature Editor
A season of record breaking performances and significant time cuts culminated in Madison Friday as the Hatchet boys’ swim team had their best ever finish at the WIAA D2 State Championship including a first place swim by Travis Phillips in the 50-yard free to become Tomahawk’s first ever State Champion at the UW-Madison Natatorium.
It was a big night for the Hatchet senior, as T. Phillips also made the podium in the other individual event he competed in finishing in 3rd place in the 100 butterfly in a time of 50.81. That race was won by Truman teDuits of Edgewood as he set a new Wisconsin D2 state record in the event that had stood since 2011 finishing in a time of just 49.52.
One of four events Tomahawk boys’ swim team competed in at the UW-Madison Natatorium, T. Phillips set the mark early as he tapped the finish line in 21.35 to win the 50 free ahead of Lucas Koepke of Elkhorn Area in a time of 21.55 and also beat out Cedarburg’s Matt Dedering (22.25) to finish in first and become Tomahawk’s first ever State Champion at the WIAA D2 State Swim Championship.
Tomahawk Hatchet head coach Marion Kohl likened the impressive day as well as season the Tomahawk boys’ swim team had to a meal capped off by the desert being a banana split in Madison.
“Begin with a split banana on each side of the dish – a solid group of 14 swimmers, both veteran and new, who were a coherent unit – different flavors that blended tastefully, but were enjoyably a bit “bananas” at times,” Kohl explained. “Add the three scoops of ice cream – our 8-2 GNC record made everything come together for the team as a solid base with the “bananas” and enabled us to show where our many strengths were as a team.”
Then she said the recipe called the toppings.
“First, some chocolate, caramel, including the team breaking school records in 9 of 11 meet events, many of them multiple times throughout the season, and the oldest record on the board set back in 2002, the 200 free relay being smashed by 4.25 seconds this season.
Kohl added the 2nd place finish at the GNC Conference Meet, which the team could not have pulled off without the points scored by every single one of the 14 team members, plus the record amount of time drop by Hatchet swimmers throughout the season, was culminated by the 68.68 total seconds dropped at the Sectional Meet in February.
And then she added the end of the season was capped off with the whipped cream.
“Being able to bring home that WIAA Sectional Runner-Up plaque for the first time in THS Boys Swimming history, again with the points scored by every one of the 10 varsity swimmers – a total team effort – as well as being able to advance T. Phillips in the 50 free and 100 butterfly, plus the team of all seniors, Brady Tjugum, Trey Miller, Keaton Jed and T. Phillips in both the 200 and 400 free relays to the WIAA D2 State Swim Meet.
“And top it all off with a cherry on top – T. Phillips’ first place, Wisconsin State Champion performance in the 50 yard Freestyle!”
To go along with the 20 team points he scored winning the 50 free – T. Phillips scored a 3rd place finish in the butterfly with a season best and re-broke THS school record time of 50.81 (Phillips dropped exactly one second from his 51.81 time from the Sectional) earning 16 more team points.
And both relay teams scored eight team points in both events – Brady Tjugum, Trey Miller, Keaton Jed and T. Phillips came in 13th in the 200 free with a time of 1:31.92, again re-breaking the THS school record while the 400 free relay swam a 3:22.24 also for 13th place, a time just .25 seconds off of their seed from Sectional.
Overall team scores at the meet saw Edgewood in first for the second year in a row with 293 points, followed by Cedarburg in 2nd with 265 and Elkhorn in 3rd with 169 points.
The Lakeland T-Birds managed a 10th place finish and were able to pull ahead of both the Hodags and the Hatchets at the end of the season with 91 points by swimming solidly in the individual events that they had qualified in as well as taking 7th in both the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay.
The Rhinelander Hodags ended up in 14th place as a team, scoring 57 total points, with their 200 medley relay taking 7th place as their highest finish.
The Hatchets were next in line for GNC teams with a total 52 points for a 17th place finish and Antigo ended the day in 25th place, scoring 13 points. A total 32 Division II teams took part in this year’s State Championship Meet.