While some swim teams throw any warm body into the diving event in the hopes of picking up a few team points, the Brainerd Warriors are stacked at that position.
The Warriors have a 1-2-3 punch in that event. That trend continued Thursday night as the Warriors handed St. Cloud Apollo/Little Falls a 105-75 defeat.
"Most teams don't even have one diver," Warriors coach John Zemke said. "We have three and we've finished 1-2-3 in a lot of meets this year. That's a big swing in points. That helps."
The leader of the trio is Shaun Kennedy, who holds the school record for diving points (283) set last season. He won his event Thursday with 258.8 while teammate Josh Olson was second with 180.80 and Dylan Pallansch was third with 173.45.
Kennedy hopes to better his school record by increasing the difficulty of a few dives.
"Once I practice them more, and get them to the point they were last year, then I'm hoping to get that record reset," Kennedy said.
Zemke said Kennedy, who placed fifth and fourth at state the last two years, is on schedule to make a run at his own school record after Thursday's performance.
"Shaun had his best score of the year," Zemke said. "He's ahead of schedule."
If Kennedy is the knockout punch, then Olson and Pallansch are the jab and the hook, setting up the big swing. Olson and Pallansch have a friendly rivalry and with any good rivalry, they take turns outdoing the other.
"They've both been going back and forth beating each other," Kennedy said. "I think competition on your team can really help diving."
The competition has made diving an event Brainerd opponents fear. That, coupled with the fact the Warriors recorded nine personal bests for the second meet in a row, make the team a force to be reckoned with.
"I think it's pretty nice because you can usually count on a fair amount of points from the divers to help the team score," Kennedy said. "Against the tougher teams, it can really help."
Senior Ty Goeman swam to three victories for the Warriors. He won the 50 freestyle in 22.76, the 100 freestyle in 51.42 and was on the winning 200 free relay team with Darren Clabo, Peter Goeman and Josh Schirmer.
Eighth-grader Peter Goeman paced the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:16.55 and was on the victorious 200 free relay.
Four other Warriors took firsts, but it is the continued improvement that makes Brainerd formidable. Clabo recorded season bests in the 50 and 100 freestyles. His time of 23.34 in the 50 free is a personal best.
"Darren Clabo had a real good meet," Zemke said. "He had his best times of the year in the 50 and 100 freestyle. In fact, those may be the best times of his life."
Clabo said the team feeds off each other's success.
"A lot of it just has to do with the motivation of the team," Clabo said. "It's unreal.
"Me and Ty Goeman stoke each other's fire. One guy swims good and everybody feeds off their time. It's like a chain reaction -- one guy swims good and everybody gets pumped."
Clabo picked up his victory with the 200 freestyle relay. The team concept of relays appeal to the senior.
"The relays are a lot of fun because you have three other guys pushing for you," Clabo said.
"The relays are why you join swimming. It's being part of the team."
Brainerd 105, St. Cloud Apollo 75
200 medley relay -- 1-SCA 1:53.06; 2-B (Andy Mehr, Brady Rutman, Brett Severson, Shaun Kennedy) 1:58.47.
200 freestyle -- 1-Miles Krueger (B) 2:02.69; 2-Josiah Collins 2:03.24; 5-Scott Lykins 2:12.13.
200 individual medley -- 1-Peter Goeman (B) 2:16.55; 4-Rutman 2:29.94; 5-Severson 2:35.09.
50 freestyle -- 1-Ty Goeman (B) 22.76; 2-Darren Clabo 23.34.
Diving -- 1-Kennedy 258.80; 2-Josh Olson (B) 180.80; 3-Dylan Pallansch (B) 173.45.
100 butterfly -- 1-Josh Schirmer (B) 1:00.06; 2-Matt Schmitz 1:02.30; 5-Severson (B)
100 freestyle -- 1-T. Goeman 51.42; 2-Clabo 52.80; 4-Tim Lange (B) 57.07.
500 freestyle -- 1-Collins 5:37.83; 2-Miles Krueger (B) 5:41.95; 3-Lykins 6:02.98.
200 freestyle relay -- 1-B (Clabo, P. Goeman, Schirmer, T. Goeman) 1:36.03; 3-B (Collins, Kennedy, Krueger, Rutman) 1:44.15.
100 backstroke -- 1-Schmitz 1:01.62; 2-B (tie) Mehr and Lange, 1:09.18.
100 breaststroke -- 1-Mike Weslander (SCA) 1:08.66.
400 freestyle relay -- 1-SCA 3:51.61.
Overall -- B 4-1. Next meet -- Brainerd at Grand Rapids Tuesday 5 p.m.
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