Coming into the Central Lakes Conference meet Saturday, the Brainerd Warriors swimming and diving team knew it would have to post some of the best times of the year to catch favorite St. Cloud Tech for the team title.
The Warriors did their part by putting up 20 season-best times. But Tech proved it was uncatchable as Brainerd finished third in the CLC with 410 point and was edged out by Alexandria (416) and champion Tech (452).
"I felt we swam very well," Brainerd coach John Zemke said. "Tech and Alex were very well rested for the meet and Tech dropped time in almost every event. We knew we'd have to make up about 51 points to beat Tech and we made up 10.
Brainerd's Nate Tyner raced in the 200 individual medley Saturday at Brainerd High School. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
"You go into the meet thinking you can make up those points but Alex got in between us to take away some points and that hurt."
As expected Brainerd senior Andrew Mehr captured CLC titles in both the 50- and the 100-yard freestyle events. Mehr posted a time of 21.92 in the 50 and 48.83 in the 100 to take top honors.
Mehr, along with Brett Severson, Nate Tyner and Josiah Collins, won the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:33.89. It was the first time since Zemke began coaching eight years ago that a Warrior relay team has won a CLC championship.
Brainerd's Aaron Thelen picked up one of three runner-up finishes when he placed second in diving with a score of 308.25. Collins finished second in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:13.89 and, along with Tim Lange, Tyner and Mehr, led the 400 freestyle relay to second place with a time of 3:27.08.
"Aaron and Scott Tetreault sat second and third for most of the meet," said Zemke. "They've been real consistent all year and it showed. Josiah really swam a great meet. We were seeded first in the 400 relay but Tech dropped seven seconds to win it."
Brainerd also received season-best times from four of its youngest swimmers in the breaststroke. Eighth grader Jared Anderson swam to third place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:06.23 for All-CLC honors.
Ninth-graders Tetreault and Zach Schneider, along with eighth-grader Josh Sachs, also posted season-best times in the breaststroke.
Brainerd swimmer Andrew Mehr competed in the 100 yard freestyle race Saturday at the Central Lakes Conference Championship at Brainerd High School. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
Now Brainerd turns its focus to the Section 8, Class 2A meet in two weeks in Elk River.
"The section meet is our primary focus," Zemke said. "We have two weeks of rest ahead and sections is the meet you want to swim your best in. You want to win the conference meet but it's more important to peak at sections."
Central Lakes Conference results
1-St. Cloud Tech 452, 2-Alexandria 416, 3-Brainerd 410, 4-Willmar 309, 5-Sartell 291, 6-Sauk Rapids-Rice 215, 7-St. Cloud Apollo 140, 8-Rocori 88
200 medley relay -- 1-St. Cloud Tech 1:45.51, 4-Brd. (Tim Lange, Brett Severson, Jared Anderson, Chris Thomsen) 1:51.84, 6-Brd. (Troy Viau, Scott Tetreault, Mike Ruen, Karl Magnuson)
200 freestyle -- 1-Kyle Eckhoff (W) 1:52.01, 3-Josiah Collins (Brd) 1:53.83, 10-Jake Iten (Brd), 18-Ruen (Brd), 19-Josh Ellens (Brd)
200 individual medley -- 1-Will Simson (SRR) 2:08.16, 8-Anderson (Brd) 2:17.26, 9-Nate Tyner (Brd), 22-Josh Sachs (Brd), 23-Chris Dens (Brd)
Warriors who earned all-CLC honors: Josiah Collins (200 and 500 freestyles, 200 and 400 free relays), Tim Lange (400 free relays), Andrew Mehr (50 and 100 freestyles, 200 and 400 free relays), Aaron Thelen (diving), Brett Severson (200 free relays), Nate Tyner (200 and 400 free relays), Jared Anderson (100 breaststroke).
50 freestyle -- 1-Andrew Mehr (Brd) 21.92, 5-Severson (Brd), 16-Ch. Thomsen (Brd), 17-Magnuson (Brd)
Diving -- 1-Chris Axelson (W) 333.40, 2-Aaron Thelen (Brd) 308.25, 4-Tetreault (Brd)
100 butterfly -- 1-Darryl Weimer (A) 56.29, 6-Tyner (Brd) 1:01.73, 14-Ruen (Brd), 15-Severson (Brd), 16-Viau (Brd)
100 freestyle -- 1-Mehr (Brd) 48.83, 4-Lange (Brd), 14-Ch. Thomsen (Brd), 19-Ellens (Brd)
500 freestyle -- 1-Eckhoff (W) 5:07.83, 2-Collins (Brd) 5:13.89, 9-Iten (Brd), 10-Viau (Brd), 17-Andrew Goll (Brd)
200 freestyle relay 1-Brd. (Severson, Tyner, Collins, Mehr) 1:33.89, 8-Brd. (Magnuson, Dens, Anderson, Ch. Thomsen)
100 backstroke -- 1-Weimer (A) 57.40, 6-Lange (Brd) 1:04.40, 18-Michael Brekken (Brd), 20-Jordan Westphal (Brd),
100 breaststroke -- 1-Mike Westlander (SCA) 1:04.83, 3-Anderson (Brd) 1:06.23, 13-Zach Schneider (Brd), 14-Tetreault (Brd), 17-Sachs (Brd)
400 freestyle relay -- 1-St. Cloud Tech 3:24.09, 2-Brd. (Lange, Tyner, Collins, Mehr) 3:27.08, 8-Brd. (Ruen, Viau, Iten, Ellens)
Next meet -- Brd. in Section 8, Class 2A meet, Sat., Feb. 26.
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5865.
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