All season Brainerd swimmer Andrew Mehr has dominated the 50-yard freestyle.
With opponents often left far behind in Mehr's wake, the senior found himself competing against the clock in hopes of beating his previous time.
But Mehr seemed stuck on his season-best time of 22.09. He posted that number four different occasions. Mehr saved his best for last, posting a 21.85 for a personal best in Brainerd's final regular season meet.
Andrew Mehr posted a 21.85 in the 50-yard freestyle.
Mehr's win in the 50- and 100 freestyles, along with eighth-grader Jared Anderson's wins in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, helped the Warriors to a 108-78 Central Lakes Conference win over the Willmar Cardinals Thursday.
Mehr, who didn't lose a single race or relay this season, said 22.09 was getting boring.
"The fourth time I did it my goggles fell off so it was a good time considering," Mehr said. "It's nice to break 22 going into the postseason and sections. Every meet I went in hoping to break it and I finally did.
"This time I focused on my kicking instead of my breathing or strokes and that might have played a part in it."
The win marked the first time since the 1990-91 season that Brainerd finished unbeaten as the Warriors went 7-0-1.
Warriors 108, Willmar 78
The key: Brainerd's Andrew Mehr posted a personal best 21.85 in the 50-yard freestyle and won the 100 freestyle as well.
Conference: Brainerd 6-0-1, Willmar 4-3
Overall: Brainerd 7-0-1, Willmar 5-4
Next: Brainerd hosts the Central Lakes Conference meet 11:30 a.m. Feb. 12.
"It seems like there's always been one other team that's sneaked up and beat us," said Warriors coach John Zemke. "We've had a lot of one-loss seasons. It's very satisfying for this team to go through unbeaten. It's something that doesn't happen very often and I think it'll be something the seniors will remember for a long time."
In the 200 freestyle relay, the Warriors trailed Willmar through the first three legs until Mehr hit the water. Mehr made up the gap, overtaking the Cardinals' Kyle Eckhoff with a 21.92 split.
In just his first year of varsity swimming Anderson hasn't swam like an eighth-grader. In the IM he said he had to get in the right frame of mind.
"I haven't dropped as much time as I would've liked but I've had some close races this year," said Anderson. "Before the IM I had trouble getting ready for it mentally. I was pretty nervous about swimming it because it's a long, daunting race. I just didn't think of it like that and it went a lot better."
The Warriors cruised to the win despite having a less than healthy Nate Tyner, who has ruled the IM and 100 butterfly. Zemke and the rest of his squad is looking forward to tapering down and preparing for the CLC meet and sections.
Jared Anderson won two races.
"We're extremely tired right now and we're looking forward to resting a lot of these guys," Zemke said. "The last 25 yards in a lot of our races we were really sucking air so they're a tired bunch right now and ready for taper. The big training is done so now we need to kick back and rest."
Brainerd 108, Willmar 78
200 medley relay -- 1-Brd. (Tim Lange, Jared Anderson, Brett Severson, Chris Thomsen) 1:50.44, 3-Brd. (Troy Viau, Scott Tetreault, Mike Ruen, Karl Magnuson).
200 freestyle -- 1-Kyle Eckhoff (W) 1:53.30, 2-Josiah Collins (Brd) 1:53.67, 5-Jake Iten (Brd), 6-Josh Ellens (Brd)
200 individual medley -- 1-Anderson (Brd) 2:20.38, 2-Nate Tyner (Brd), 3-Ruen (Brd)
50 freestyle -- 1-Mehr (Brd) 21.85, 2-Severson (Brd) 4-, Ch. Thomsen (Brd)
Diving -- 1-Chris Axelson (W) 203.40, 2-Cody Thomsen (Brd) 188.65, 3-Aaron Thelen (Brd), 4-Teterault (Brd)
100 butterfly -- 1-Matt Fuglestad (W) 1:00.45, 3-Severson (Brd) 1:03.96, 5-Ruen (Brd), 6-Tyner (Brd),
100 freestyle -- 1-Mehr (Brd) 48.78, 2-Lange (Brd), 5-Ch. Thomsen (Brd)
500 freestyle -- 1-Eckhoff (W) 5:10.19, 2-Collins (Brd) 5:16.26, 3-Iten (Brd), 4-Andrew Goll (Brd)
200 freestyle relay 1-Brd. (Severson, Tyner, Collins, Mehr) 1:36.83, 3-Brd. (Magnuson, Ch. Thomsen, Iten, Mehr)
100 backstroke -- 1-Eric Laingen (W) 1:03.68, 3-Lange (Brd) 1:06.74, 5-Viau (Brd), 6-Mike Brekken (Brd)
100 breaststroke -- 1-Anderson (Brd) 1:08.34, 3-Tetreault (Brd), 4-Zach Schneider (Brd)
400 freestyle relay -- 1-Brd. (Lange, Tyner, Collins, Mehr) 3:35.44, 3-Brd. (Ruen, Ellens, Viau, Iten)
Next meet -- Brd. hosts Central Lakes Conference meet 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12.
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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