In the last three years the Brainerd Warriors boys' swimming and diving team has won 26 of 29 dual meets. Its only losses have been to perennial state power Alexandria.
The Warriors will run into the defending state champion Cardinals again this weekend when Alexandria hosts the Section 8AA meet Friday and Saturday. Swimming prelims are 5 p.m. Friday, diving prelims 10 a.m. Saturday and finals in all events 2 p.m. Saturday.
Alexandria's dominance is demonstrated by the fact it is seeded first in all 12 section events. The Warriors are seeded second in five events -- Paul Fitzpatrick in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles, Jim Clabo in the 50 free, the 200 free relay and 400 free relay.
"Obviously, like all year, we will rely on our depth," Brainerd coach John Zemke said. "The big key is going to be how many guys we get in the top eight. If we can get seconds and thirds in the top eight and move down no farther than eighth in the finals we will be in good shape.
"Alexandria is the favorite. We want to push them like we did in the conference meet. We were down one point after the 100 free at the conference meet. We hope at the section to push them a little bit, make them a little nervous. We've been section runner-up three years in a row."
Despite Alexandria's talent Zemke isn't conceding anything to the Cardinals.
"It looks like we have a pretty good shot at first," he said. "Obviously, second would be nice but first would be a lot better. We want to get as many to state as we possibly can."
Zemke said the first day of the section meet is crucial.
"We hope our depth will keep the score close," he said. "We are going after it. This is the meet we gear our whole season toward.
"The guys are looking better in the water every day. They're getting faster and faster. They're excited, I'm excited. We hope to go out and nail them the first day. First or second the first day is what you need to put yourself in position to win (Saturday). If you're in the top eight you can't move below eighth. If you're in the bottom eight you can't move above ninth. You have to set yourself up the first day. There's no holding back the first day."
200 medley relay -- Ty Goeman, Scott Antolak, Pat O'Brien, Mike Vesely (seeded third)
200 freestyle -- Paul Fitzpatrick (2nd), Ryan Scheeler (6th), Bruce Droogsma (8th), Tyler Rosnau (15th)
200 individual medley -- Karl Antolak (6th), Scott Antolak (12th), Darren Clabo (20th)
50 freestyle -- Jim Clabo (2nd), Vesely (3rd), O'Brien (4th), Jason Howard (11th)
Diving -- Shaun Kennedy, Jake Carson, Brian Schanzenbach, Jade Whirley
100 butterfly -- O'Brien (6th), Josh Schirmer (10th), Matt Schmitz (11th), Brent Bendson (18th)
100 freestyle -- Fitzpatrick (2nd), Jim Clabo (3rd), Scheeler (4th), Goeman (16th)
500 freestyle -- Droogsma (6th), Rosnau (17th), Brady Rutman (21st), Bendson (25th)
200 freestyle relay -- Vesely, O'Brien, Jim Clabo, Fitzpatrick (2nd)
100 backstroke -- Goeman (4th), Howard (5th), Schmitz (8th), Darren Clabo (20th)
100 breaststroke -- Scott Antolak (7th), Schirmer (8th), Karl Antolak (12th), Rutman (18th)
400 freestyle relay -- Vesely, Scheeler, Jim Clabo, Fitzpatrick (2nd)
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