MINNEAPOLIS -- The 50-yard freestyle in swimming is a blink-an-eye-and-you'll-miss-it type of race. All a swimmer has to do is hiccup and he could quickly plummet from contention.
When Brainerd's Andrew Mehr stood on the starting block for the championship heat of the 50 freestyle in the Class 2A state meet Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center, the only thing running through his mind was, well, not to hiccup.
Mehr entered the weekend seeded eighth in the 50, swam to the seventh seed in the preliminaries and stayed in that spot as he finished the championship heat with a time of 21.81 to earn all-state honors.
Brainerd's Andrew Mehr swam to seventh place in the 50 freestyle, finishing the championship heat with a time of 21.81 to earn all-state honors Saturday in Minneapolis. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
"When I was on the block I was thinking about making sure I got out quick," Mehr said, "and that I didn't flinch so I wouldn't get disqualified. I also try to focus on one aspect of my stroke and you just try to put it all together.
"The 50 is a race you love and hate at the same time. If anything's not 100 percent you'll lose. If everything goes perfect, you'll win."
The Brainerd senior was a workhorse all weekend as he also competed in the 100 free, anchored the 200 free relay and led off the 400 free relay.
Swimming nine times in two days at state is a lot for one person but Mehr didn't mind ending his high school career a little busier than most swimmers.
"The places I finished weren't perfect," Mehr said, "but to swim nine times at state is really great because there's a lot of guys that don't get that chance. It was a long season so I'll probably take some time to just veg out."
Warriors coach John Zemke agreed that swimming four events in each of the two days at state took a lot out of Mehr, especially going up against competition that swims year round.
Brainerd's Andrew Mehr swam nine times in two days at the state meet. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
"Andrew's just a skinny guy and nine races is just too many," Zemke said. "But Andrew is a special guy too and we were very lucky to have him this year. It was a special group all together."
In the 100 free, Mehr finished 12th with a time of 48.59. In the 200 free relay he helped bring the Warriors from nearly dead-last to a 13th-place finish by posting a 21.27 split. Along with Mehr, Tim Lange, Brett Severson and Josiah Collins helped the Warriors finish in 1:30.24.
Brainerd changed its lineup in the 400 free relay, opting to lead off with Mehr in order to get out to a fast start. The strategy worked through the first two legs as Lange followed Mehr's quick start with a split time of 50.20 and the Warriors were in second place. But they gave up ground to finish 15th at 3:21.87.
"It was the last race of the season so we wanted to have fun and improve our time," Lange said of the 400 relay. "We switched it up and it was fun going second. The coaches told us not to leave a 100th of a second in the water and I think we were able to accomplish that."
Championship Saturday was a fast day in the pool as six 2A records and three Minnesota all-time records were set.
Class 2A Results: Brainerd's Andrew Mehr finished seventh in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.81 to earn all-state honors.
Colin Lee-To of Minnetonka set an all-time state record of 20.42 in the 50 free. Mark Sofelt of Eden Prairie set a state all-time record in the 200 individual medley at 1:48.95. The Eden Prairie 400 free relay set a state all-time record with a 3:05.38.
Class 2A swimming finals
Team scores -- 1-Eden Prairie 257, 2-Lakeville 222, 3-Wayzata 148, 4-Minnetonka 139, 5-Maple Grove 128, 24-Brainerd 29
50 freestyle -- 1-Colin Lee-To (Minnetonka) 20.42, 2-Michael Richards (Roseville) 20.96, 3-Curt Carlson (Maple Grove) 21.01, 7-Andrew Mehr (Brd) 21.81.
100 freestyle -- 1-Cameron Seebeck (Eden Prairie) 46.14, 2-Danny Johnson (Wayzata) 46.88, 3-Michael Richards (Roseville) 46.52, 12-Mehr (Brd) 48.59.
200 freestyle relay 1-Lakeville 1:26.98, 2-Minnetonka 1:27.15, 3-Eden Prairie 1:27.25, 13-Brainerd (Tim Lange, Brett Severson, Josiah Collins, Mehr) 1:30.24.
400 freestyle relay -- 1-Eden Prairie 3:05.38, 2-Lakeville 3:11.90, 3-Wayzata 3:13.25, 15-Brainerd (Mehr, Lange, Collins, Nate Tyner) 3:21.87.
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5865.
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