High-tech swimsuits have been banned by the Minnesota State High School League but that shouldn't have an adverse effect on the Brainerd Warriors.
Effective this season, swimmers will be limited to one suit constructed of a woven/knit textile material that is permeable to water and air and is constructed not to assist buoyancy.
State entrant Siri Smith (second from left) and captains Allison Reuer (top), Sarah Dens (left), Laura Goll (third from left), Nicole Meier and Kirstie Billman return for the Brainerd Warriors swimming and diving team this season. Dens was also a state entrant, along with Katy Etterman (not pictured).
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
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Suits can't have zippers or other fastening systems. They can't extend beyond the shoulders or below the top of the kneecap and can't cover the arms or neck.
"Frankly, I'm surprised the MSHSL did it, I wish they had done it sooner," Brainerd coach Dan Anderson said. "My son (Jared) swam in one (last year). They're amazing suits. There are a lot of different kinds of suits out there, and kids swam fast times wearing them. But they're so expensive, and they're not exactly durable either.
"Last year Jared was in the (state) finals of the 100 breaststroke. He was wearing a $300 suit, the cheapest of any of the other seven guys on the block. I saw suits that even had some floatation issues, allowing for some buoyancy. Some kids got smart and wore two of them, now they're wrapped up in $600 in suits. It's not a necessity in high school for kids to do that.
"The records set by kids in suits will stand. Qualifying times will be tougher to achieve."
Brainerd returns 20 letterwinners from a team that finished fourth in the conference meet and third in the section. Three girls return with state meet experience.
Diver Katy Etterman placed 27th in Class 2A last season. Siri Smith and Sarah Dens were members of the 22nd-place 200 medley relay team.
"We're looking for Katy to hopefully again qualify for state, then go down there and place in the top 16," Anderson said. "She's a very talented girl. She's also a gymnast. She just needs to get into some competition, get her diving legs under her so to speak, and she will be just fine.
Swimming and diving
Head coach: Dan Anderson, 24th season (16th at Brainerd, 7 at Rock Springs, Wyo.)
Brainerd record: 114-40 (.740).
Career record: 180-71-1 (.7171)
2008 finish: 7-2 CLC, 8-2 overall
Returning state meet participants: Sarah Dens, Siri Smith, Katy Etterman
Captains: Sarah Dens, Laura Goll, Nicole Meier, Allison Reuer, Kirstie Billman
Assistant coaches: Ann Stenglein, Mary Streiff.
Sept. 1, at Bemidji 6 p.m.
Sept. 3, Sauk Rapids-Rice 6 p.m.
Sept. 10, at Rocori 6 p.m.
Sept. 17, Sartell 6 p.m.
Sept. 19, at Park Rapids Invite, 9:30 a.m.
Sept. 24, Fergus Falls 6 p.m.
Oct. 1, Little Falls 6 p.m.
Oct. 6, at St. Cloud Apollo 6 p.m.
Oct. 8, at Willmar 6 p.m.
Oct. 10, True Team Section at St. Cloud Tech 1 p.m.
Oct. 13, at Alexandria 6 p.m.
Oct. 23, St. Cloud Tech 6 p.m.
Oct. 29-31, Conference championship at Sartell
Nov. 13, Section at St. Cloud Tech 3 p.m.
Nov. 14, Section finals at St. Cloud Tech noon
"Siri is a great competitor. She had a very good summer of training. She's just very solid. I know her goal is to break our school record in the 100 back, and I'm sure she would like to qualify in the individual 100 back.
"Sarah swam on the end of that relay, the free portion, then had to swim her 200 free, which took her out of consideration to make (state) in the 200 free. I don't think she will be on that relay this year. She also would like to get our school record in the 200 free. If she can do that she's got a shot to qualify for state."
Senior Laura Goll is being counted on in distance events.
"Laura missed our school record (in the 500) by a second last year," Anderson said. "She put a lot of time in this summer. I think she's got a legitimate shot to get the school record in the 500."
Junior Grace Bymark and sophomore Alex Erickson are top candidates in the butterfly.
"They're very good, young, butterflyers who we will get good swims out of," Anderson said.
He looks for juniors Grace Larson and Maria Moen to "step it up" in the breaststroke.
"Both had good a summer, and their strokes improved so much," he said.
Sophomore Stephanie Hansen could also be a factor in distance events.
"She looks really good in the 200 and 500," Anderson said. "She's pushing Laura in the 500."
Anderson said with 33 varsity candidates this will be one of the smaller teams he has coached at Brainerd.
"We have a small senior class (6), and we lost a few seniors along the way," he said. "We have a small incoming freshman class, but our junior and sophomore classes are big, and in eighth and seventh grade we are fine.
"(Thirty-three) girls, that's kind of a normal-size team. We're used to being in the 40s. Around 2002 we were as high as 64 girls, which is way too many. It was unmanageable.
"Having 33, they're hard-working. They're just so coachable. It's been a pleasure so far. The volume is down in the pool. It's just nice."
Seniors: Allison Reuer, Kirstie Billman, Nicole Meier, Sarah Dens, Laura Goll, Becky Walker
Juniors: Enid Swaggert, Claire Campbell, Siri Smith, A.J. Panzer, Grace Bymark, Olivia Elsenpeter, Mindy Jacobson, Grace Larson, Mariah Moen, Katy Etterman, Kassi Kavanaugh
Sophomores: Madison Grausam, Katelyn Jindra, Alex Erickson, Laura Boran, Alyssa Hartshorn, Aylah Pagel, Ariana Pelkey, Betsy Schuldheisz, Stephanie Hansen, Erika Strand, Jane Stromberg
Freshmen: Paige DeFrang, Kaylie Johnson, Josie Smude, Aiyana Swenson
Eighth grade: Beth Etterman
Managers: Kasha Jacobs, Becky Stanwood
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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