A few school records may be on the verge of sinking as the Brainerd Warrior girls' swimming and diving team prepares to hit the water for its season opener at home Thursday night against Sartell.
Junior Robyn Wernberg, one of four regulars returning with state meet experience, has a shot to break one of the program's longest-standing records, the backstroke mark of 1:02.9 set by Rachel Mudgett in 1975.
"Robyn is one of the best backstrokers ever to come through Brainerd High School," Warriors coach Dan Anderson said. "It would be nice if she could challenge for the school record. She's certainly one of the best backstrokers in the section, although there are some very good ones this year. She should be all-conference again but she's got her work cut out for her."
Wernberg placed 28th in the state meet in the backstroke.
Anderson projects that sophomore Jessica Reese has a shot to break the school record of 1:09.87 she set last season.
Reese finished 20th at state in the breaststroke and 36th in the 50 freestyle.
"Jessica is just an incredible talent," he said. "She was in the state meet in the breaststroke and obviously she's got her sights set even higher. She wants to go down there and make some noise this year. She has the potential to be a top eight performer in the state."
Brainerd also returns state entrants Brianna Elg and Christie Nelson. Elg, a senior, was on the state medley relay with Reese and Wernberg that finished 11th. Nelson was all-conference in the 500 freestyle.
"Brianna has had a really nice career for us," Anderson said. "We're looking for her to step it up. She will be counted on, definitely, in the butterfly. She will also do the 200 IM and I'm sure she will be in the mix for a couple of our relays.
1 SARTELL, 6 p.m.
6 at Bemidji, 6 p.m.
8 FERGUS FALLS, 6 p.m.
15 LITTLE FALLS, 6 p.m.
17 at Park Rapids Invitational, 9 a.m.
22 at St. Cloud Apollo, 6 p.m.
29 at Willmar, 6 p.m.
4 at Alexandria, 6 p.m.
6 ST. CLOUD TECH, 6 p.m.
13 SAUK RAPIDS-RICE 6 p.m.
15 True Team Section, noon, at Alexandria
18 at Rocori, 6 p.m.
22 - State True Team at University of Minnesota, TBA
29 CLC at Alexandria, 10 a.m.
11-12 - Section 8, Class 2A at Tech
22-23 - State at University of Minnesota
"Christie brings experience, which she got a lot of last year. This year she's a veteran and we expect big things out of her."
Anderson said depth will be an asset of this team as it will be able to fill a complete lineup in all 12 events. He is anxious to see who steps forward.
"I can't wait for the first meet so we have a feel for what we have," Anderson said. "We've got a lot of kids that have very nice strokes. A lot have four good strokes. The technique is there. A lot of them trained hard this summer. It's a matter of me figuring out where to line them up.
"We have the potential to be a very good team. The conference might be as balanced as I've ever seen it. I think Fergus Falls is the odds-on favorite. Willmar, St. Cloud Tech, Sauk Rapids-Rice and Brainerd are very similar. It's a matter of who improves the most."
Anderson said numbers remain solid despite the number of activities available to girls in the fall.
"You always worry about that when more sports are added to your overall program," he said. "You start to worry about specialization but we've been able to keep close to 60 girls."
St. Cloud Apollo has dropped to Class 1A. Buffalo and Rogers have been assigned to Section 8-2A for the next two years, joining Brainerd, Moorhead, Bemidji, Tech, Alexandria and Elk River.
Seniors: Claire Radomski, sprint freestyle; Danielle Marolt, breaststroke; Kara Rutman, diving; Jessica Bateman, distance freestyle; Maggie Boland, IM, breaststroke; Briana Hanson, butterfly; Jenny Boran, distance freestyle; Brianna Elg, IM, butterfly.
Juniors: Cali Hernandez, diving; Megan Augustinack, distance freestyle; Mardi Billman, butterfly; Katie Johnson, freestyle; Melissa Wentworth, sprint freestyle; Dayna Raboin, distance freestyle; Heather Erickson, diving, breaststroke; Katie Schindler, IM, butterfly; Connie London, middle distance freestyle; Robyn Wernberg, backstroke, freestyle.
Sophomores: Melissa Street, butterfly; Jodi Larson, sprint freestyle; Jenny Klabo, diving; Sadie Panzer, butterfly, backstroke; Christie Nelson, distance freestyle; Jessica Reese, sprint freestyle, breaststroke.
Sophomores: Leah Hight, freestyle; Erin Osell, freestyle; Sara Bragg, freestyle; Jessica Hettver, freestyle; Amanda Barthel, freestyle; Courtney Jindra, IM, butterfly
Seniors: Kirstin Geppert; Sabrina Baeker
Sophomores: Christa Kaul; Connie Holmes; Stephanie Brown; Jordan Gibson
Freshmen: Allison Jones; Katie Mahle; Jordan Nentl; Nikki Hanson; Destiney Schindele; Lauren Schweich; Kelsey Hoff; Becca Tadych; Molly Baker; Bailey Geraets; Ronia Gramer; Tiffany Etterman; Meghan Hamson; Sara Wentworth; Cassie LaDouceur; Andrea Lemieux; Ashli Meyer; Maggie Thurlow; Gina Padrnos; Becca Tadych, Lindsay Linder.
MIKE BIALKA can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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