The Princeton Tigers placed in the top 10 at last year's Class A swimming and diving state meet and return an individual state champion.
But it was the Brainerd Warriors who looked like the state tournament team in a 117-68 non-conference win over the Tigers Tuesday.
"It was the first loss of the year for them," Brainerd coach John Zemke said. "They felt if they could win this one they had a good chance to go undefeated this year. Those things have a way of getting back to the opposing team. We knew about this going in.
"When we looked at this meet at the beginning of the year we thought it would be a very close meet. Princeton was seventh in last year's Class A meet. Chris Anderson is the defending state champion in the 50 free. He has signed a Division I tender with the University of Wisconsin at Madison. We knew they had him and most of their team back from last year's state meet team. We thought it would be very close."
It wasn't. The Warriors won five individual events and all three relays as they raised their overall record to 4-1.
Brainerd's Karl Antolak won the individual medley, Jim Clabo paced the 50 free, Shaun Kennedy won the diving, Ty Goeman led the backstroke and Scott Antolak won the breaststroke.
Goeman, Scott Antolak, Pat O'Brien and Mike Vesely teamed to win the 200 medley relay. Karl Antolak, Jim Clabo, Paul Fitzpatrick and Ty Rosnau combined to win the 200 free relay. And, Jim Clabo, O'Brien, Vesely and Fitzpatrick won the 400 free relay.
"Jim Clabo had an excellent time (50.57) in the 100 free," Zemke said. "He's only nine/tenths of a second away from the automatic state qualifying time. Fitzpatrick had a nice leadoff leg in the 200 free. It was his fastest time of the year leading off that relay. Scott Antolak dropped two seconds in the 100 breast off his best time of the year. All three guys in the 200 free (Fitzpatrick, Bruce Droogsma, Rosnau) had season-best times."
The Warriors scheduled Princeton to compete against a quality non-conference opponent and strengthen their schedule.
"We have meets the guys are all pumped up and excited for," Zemke said. "They thrive on that pressure. They handle it very well.
"The last three years in real tough meets when we ask the kids to do something nine out of 10 times they give it everything they have. They really suck it up."
Brainerd won despite not being at full strength. Josh Schirmer missed the meet because of illness and Ryan Scheeler had a thigh injury that limited him to relays.
Brainerd 117, Princeton 68
200 medley relay -- 1-Brainerd (Ty Goeman, Scott Antolak, Pat O'Brien, Mike Vesely) 1:47.22; 3-Brainerd (Jason Howard, K. Antolak, Matt Schmitz, Ryan Scheeler); 4-Brainerd (Peterson, Rutman, Bendson, D. Clabo)
200 freestyle -- 1-Chris Anderson (P) 1:51.13, 2-Paul Fitzpatrick (B) 1:52.93, 5-Bruce Droogsma (B), 6-Ty Rosnau (B)
200 individual medley -- 1- Karl Antolak (B) 2:16.57, 4- S. Antolak (B), 5-Goeman (B)
50 freestyle -- 1- J. Clabo (B) 22.90, 2-Mike Vesely (B), 3-O'Brien (B)
Diving -- 1-Shaun Kennedy (B) 218.65 points, 2-Jake Carson (B), 3-Brian Schanzenbach (B)
100 butterfly -- 1-Jake Ulm (P) 58.32, 2-O'Brien (B), 3-Schmitz (B), 5-D. Clabo (B)
100 freestyle -- 1-Chris Anderson (P) 49.51, 2-J. Clabo (B) 50.57, 3-Scheeler (B), 4-Fitzpatrick (B)
500 freestyle -- 1-Jordan Holmbo (P) 5:32.59, 2- Droogsma (B) 5:35.83, 3-Rosnau (B), 4-Rutman
200 freestyle relay -- 1-Brainerd (K. Antolak, J. Clabo, Fitzpatrick, Rosnau) 1:32.68, 3-Brainerd (Scheeler, S. Antolak, D. Clabo, Droogsma)
100 backstroke -- 1-Goeman (B) 1:01.49, 2-Schmitz (B) 1:01.89, 3-Howard (B)
100 breaststroke -- 1-S. Antolak (B) 1:07.92, 3-K. Antolak (B), 5-Rutman (B)
400 freestyle relay -- 1-Brainerd (J. Clabo, O'Brien, Vesely, Fitzpatrick) 3:35.19, 4-Brainerd (Goeman, Howard, Schmitz, Droogsma) 4:09.08
Conference -- B 1-1. Overall -- B 4-1. Next meet -- Brainerd 6 p.m. Thursday at Willmar.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.