East strokes out win over Jays

The Merrill girls swim team put the finishing touches on the regular season with their toughest Valley foe, WVC dual-season champ Wausau East.

The host Lumberjacks cut down the Merrill girls 135-35 in Thursday’s meet.

“East was a difficult match-up and we knew it before we arrived,” MHS coach Bethany Preboske said. “The girls picked up quickly that East was tough, taking first and second and leaving us third in the medley relay.”

It wouldn’t change throughout the meet. Merrill finally broke through for a runner-up finish in the meet’s last event. The 400 free team of Megan Koelsch, Jennica Jahnke, Emma Sowieja and Jourdyn Mootz swam a 4:20.35, just 26/100ths behind.

The Jays placed 3-4 in the 50 free with Courtney Kolehouse (:27.87) and Mootz (:29.15), and the 500 free with Tori Engel (6:49.08) and Taylor LaBorde (7:20.75).

MHS earned several other thirds, from: Koelsch (100 free, 1:05.46); the 200 medley team (Engel, Kolehouse, Elise Ordemann, Mootz, 2:14.38); and the 200 free relay (Mootz, Jahnke, Sowieja, Kolehouse, 1:56.91).

Placing fourth were: Sowieja (200 free, 2:29.33); Robin Opsahl (100 fly, 1:27.56); Megan Johnson (100 back, 1:24.53); and Jahnke (100 brea, 1:31.79).

“Emma broke her personal best in the 200 free,” Preboske said. “She had been looking forward to breaking her time all season, and said that she had a feeling it was close to her best.

“Taylor continues to knock time off her 200 IM. She has to really concentrate on transitions into a new stroke and finishing hard in every race. Jennica has played an important role towards the end of the year. She continues to improve week in and week out. Megan Koelsch had a personal best in the 100 free.”

The Conference meet will be hosted by East at UW-SP on Thursday.

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