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Hodag’s swimming program continues to build a winning culture

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Over the past two seasons, the Rhinelander Hodags boy's swim team is a perfect 20-0 in the Great Northern Conference.

And with after winning their second consecutive conference meet on Friday, have two trophies to prove it.

"Being able to be undefeated and then winning two conference championships in a row for Rhinelander felt awesome," said senior Devon Gaber.

"I've never seen more people at this pool before watching a meet," said fellow senior Thaddeus Heck , who broke the conference record in the breast stroke on during Friday's meet.

"I've never seen more people excited. So just to have all those accomplishments on that night was absolutely perfect."

However it wasn't always that way.

"My freshman year we'd have swim meets where I think like three people would show up," recalled Heck.

"Not a lot of people talked about swim," agreed Gaber. "It wasn't even in the newspaper a whole lot."

But through years of hard work and dedication, a winning culture and successful program was born.

"They are all very hard working," said the Hodag's Head Coach Jenny Heck.

"They're very motivated, they enjoy each other, they know they're in this together and I think that's what's a little different than maybe some other teams."

That camaraderie paired with the success has caused a town and community to rally behind them.

"It's incredible," said Gaber.

"It feels amazing just knowing how far the community has come. The people just packing the stands and just seeing a wave of green, it's amazing."

The Hodags will look to continue their success at the WIAA Regionals February 14-15.

Alex Stewart

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