Joe Wells is getting greedy. The Brainerd Warriors junior advanced to the Class 2A state swimming and diving meet last season as a member of the Warriors 200 medley relay.
This year he wants more.
Among the list of Wells’ wants are to return to state in the relay, but also advance as an individual. He may have found the event to accomplish that.
In Thursday’s Brainerd Invite at Brainerd High School, Wells picked up the Warriors lone individual win in the 100-yard breaststroke. His victory, his role in the first-place medley relay and 28 other Warrior top-10 finishes led Brainerd to the team victory.
“We’ve seen a lot of leadership out of Joe outside the pool,” said Warriors head coach John Zemke. “He’s our No. 1 breaststroker this year. We’re looking for him to have a great season. He swam really well last year and he’s hoping to continue that. He dedicated himself this past summer to lifting weights and swimming. We’re excited for him this season.”
Wells was the top seed entering the breaststroke. He didn’t disappoint with a winning time of 1:07.6. He beat runner-up Ben Coldwell of Minneapolis Southwest by four seconds.
“You have to race fast still because you know you’re going to be up front, but you have to keep it in your mind that you have to work hard still so you don’t lose that top spot,” Wells said. “I just kept pushing. I tried to look side-to-side when I made the turn, but I just wanted to keep pushing. I was hoping to get a better time and keep improving throughout the season.”
Wells opened the season with a winning breaststroke time of 1:06.87 against Alexandria. He added a win against St. Cloud Tech two days later and another against Willmar.
“A win is good, especially with all the Christmas cookies I ate,” Wells said. “It’s good to come back and know we didn’t lose too much over the break. Hopefully we can improve the rest of the season.”
Wells said his time goal is a 1:01 in the breaststroke and under a minute in the butterfly — his other individual event. But he hasn’t abandoned his relay team. The goal for Wells, Luke Jacobsen, Josh McKeag and newcomer David Supinski is to break the school record and return to state.
“I went to state last year in a relay,” Wells said. “This year, without hurting the relay, I would like to concentrate on my individual events and pick them up and go faster in them. Hopefully I can go to state in an individual event.”
Along with Wells and the winning medley relay, Brainerd’s 200 freestyle relay of Jacobsen, Justin Kuglin, Nick Goll and Supinski also won. Brainerd’s 400 free relay placed second behind a Monticello team that featured Jack and Paul Fair. Those two accounted for four individual firsts.
The Warriors scored seconds from Kuglin in the 200 individual medley and 100 free, Supinski in the 50 free, McKeag in the butterfly and Peder Smith in the 500 free.
“We had four individual swimmers in each event and we had quite a few scorers,” Zemke said. “Depth was better than what I thought it was going to be. A lot of kids got a chance to swim today, which is neat.”
Team scores: 1-Brainerd 543, 2-Melrose/Sauk Centre 456, 3-Monticello 402, 4-Minneapolis Southwest 381, 5-Perham 194, 6-Bemidji 163, 7-Moorhead 120
200 medley relay: 1-Brainerd (Luke Jacobsen, Joe Wells, Josh McKeag, David Supinski) 1:45.81; 5-Brainerd (Peder Smith, Matt Majerle, Joey Stromberg, Gus Askegaard) 1:53.42; 11- Brainerd (Preston Owen, Jared Sachs, Jack Wickman, Mitch Quall) 2:02.32, 17-Troy Bialka, Hanson Devine, Cody Tusler, Jordan Kleist) 2:13.10
200 freestyle: 1-Paul Fair (Mont) 1:49.08, 3-Nick Goll (Brd) 1:55.34, 4-Peder Smith (Brd) 1:58.26, 7-Matt Wright (Brd) 2:02.83, 15-Dan Larson (Brd) 2:13.88
200 individual medley: 1-Peter Lefebvre (MPSW) 2:09.20, 2-Justin Kuglin 2:12.17, 6-Matt Majerle (Brd) 2:16.76, 11-Owen 2:27.60, 20-Devine 2:38.92
50 freestyle: 1-Jack Fair (Mont) 22.94, 2-Supinski 24.18, 7-Jacobsen 24.90, 12-Askegaard 25.61, 15-Larson 26.24
Diving: 1-Evan Johnson (Moor) 211.45, 4-Robert Young (Brd) 100.65
100 butterfly: 1-P. Fair (Mont) 53.65, 2-McKeag 55.75, 5-Stromberg 1:01.73, 7-Wells 1:03.60
100 freestyle: 1-J. Fair (Mont) 51.09, 2-Kuglin 51.15, 3-Supinski 52.29, 11-Askegaard 59.02, 18-Jack Wickman (Brd) 1:02.09
500 freestyle: 1-Felipe Barreto (Mel) 5:09.83, 2-Smith 5:22.43, 4-Goll 5:27.56, 7-Wright 5:41.46, 25-Tusler 7:13.97
200 freestyle relay: 1-Brainerd (Jacobsen, Kuglin, Goll, Supinski) 1:35.46; 6-Brainerd (Askegaard, Stromberg, Larson, Wright) 1:43.07; 8-Brainerd (Kleist, Wickman, Jared Sachs, Mitch Quall) 1:47.97, 17-Brainerd (Devine, Tusler, Jed Smith, Ryan Stout) 2:00.58
100 backstroke: 1-Karl Schwarzkopf (MPSW) 56.46, 3-McKeag 59.98, 5-Majerle 1:01.75, 9-Owen 1:05.66, 15-Bialka 1:11.72
100 breaststroke: 1-Wells 1:07.6, 5-Jacobsen 1:12.86, 8-Stromberg 1:14.83, 10-Jared Sachs 1:17.76
400 freestyle relay: 1-Monticello 3:28.37, 2-Brainerd (P. Smith, Kuglin, McKeag, Goll) 3:29.71; 7-Brainerd (Majerle, Wright, Owen, Larson); 12-Brainerd (Kleist, Quall, Bialka, Wickman) 4:13.10, 18-Brainerd (Devine, Tusler, J. Smith, Stout) 4:39.79