The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 17, 2012

West turns in best state finish ever

MINNEAPOLIS — In the final heat of the final event of her final high school swim season, Mankato West senior Nicole Lohman finally

got her state championship.

Lohman combined with Chantal Nack, Madison Bacon and Danielle Nack to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3:32.63.

"It's unbelievable," a tearful Lohman said afterward. "I never gave up hope. When we took second in the 200 (free relay) I still believed we could win the 400. We just had to bear down and give it our all."

Lohman's state title was the culmination of a banner day for the Scarlets who won three championships and had two runner-up

performances. The effort gave West its highest finish ever at the state meet with a fourth-place total of 163.5 points.

Northfield won the Class A competition with 226 points. Sartell-St. Stephen was second (175) and Visitation was third (172).

"I think we did about as well as we could have," West head coach Dave Burgess said. "I thought we might have a shot at third for awhile but fourth place is awesome. We've taken fifth twice before so this is the best we've ever done."

Burgess said Bacon's split of 54.4 on the third leg of the relay was the key. That put the Scarlets about two seconds behind the relay from Sartell-St. Stephen and Danielle Nack made up the difference on the final leg.

"I wasn't sure what we were going to get out of Madi in that final relay because she was dealing with a sore hamstring," he said. "The

trainers had to clear he to swim and she came through with a great performance."

Bacon said there was no way she was going to hold back.

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