When Andrew Mehr climbs out of the pool for the final time Saturday he likely will be remembered as one of the best to swim for the Brainerd Warriors.
Mehr enters the Class 2A meet as one of the state's top sprinters. He is seeded fifth in the 100-yard freestyle and eighth in the 50 free. He also has helped the 400 free relay to the 11th seed and the 200 free relay to the 13th seed.
He also hopes to join Dave Monkman, Joe Vrudny and Lance Hoff as the best to swim for the Warriors. Vrudny was a three-time state runner-up in the backstroke, Monkman and Hoff were state runners-up in the 50 free.
Hoff and Monkman own the two fastest 50 free times in school history.
"He's definitely one of the fastest to ever come through Brainerd, that's safe to say," Warriors coach John Zemke said of Mehr, who was undefeated this season in dual meets in the 50 and 100.
Mehr won Section 8 titles in the 50 and 100 free last week, anchored the 200 free relay to the title and helped the 400 free relay to a runner-up finish. He was named section swimmer of the year along with Moorhead's Shaun Seaburg.
"He had a fantastic week," Zemke said of Mehr. "Being named swimmer of the meet is a great accomplishment. Andrew's the first one from Brainerd (to earn the honor) in the eight years I've been here."
Mehr set a pool record in the prelims with a lifetime-best 21.60 in the 50 free. In the finals he won at 21.85.
"The championship round was a little slower swim," Mehr said. "It was just not my best individual race."
In the 100, he paced the final with a time of 48.30.
Events: 50- and 100-yard freestyle, 200 free relay, 400 free relay
Weight: 155 pounds
Other sports: Tennis
Memorable sports achievement: Finishing eighth at state in 50 free as junior
Grade-point average: 4.32
Favorite subject: Calculus
Favorite food: 12-grain wheat bread
Favorite movie: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
Future plans: Attend University of Minnesota or Illinois Institute of Technology, major in mechanical engineering
Athlete he admires: Former teammate Shaun Kennedy
Parents: Tom and Jacki Mehr
"I dropped an extra few 10ths in the 100, which again isn't exactly what I wanted to go," Mehr said. "I think I have room to drop more time."
Mehr then joined Tim Lange, Brett Severson and Josiah Collins, anchoring the 200 free relay to a winning time of 1:30.90.
"I think I get more excited for relays than I do for individual races, especially when I anchor," Mehr said. "You enter the water knowing who it is you have to beat."
Zemke said the Warriors were about 1.5 seconds behind Moorhead when Mehr dove in.
"That was the fastest split (20.91) we've ever had in my years here," Zemke said. "Andrew out-touched (Moorhead) by 2/10ths of a second. It was our first relay win in the section in my years here. We've had some fast relays but somebody else always won."
Brainerd ended the meet with a runner-up finish at 3:19.63 in the 400 free relay.
"The 400 relay was loaded," Mehr said. "Our section sent five teams to state. Normally, two qualify but five made the time cut."
At state, Mehr believes his best opportunity to win a title is in the 100. Colin Lee-To of Minnetonka is the defending 50 and 100 free champion but will swim the 50 and breaststroke this year.
"(Lee-To) is considered the fastest high school sprinter in the state," Mehr said. "He's ahead of everyone in the 50 by about 8/10ths of a second. He will be tough to beat. He's not swimming the 100. That's good for me."
Other notable efforts:
Jacob Ray and Nathan Puchalla, floor hockey, each had three goals against Armstrong.
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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