Jessica Reese is one of several freshmen making it difficult for Brainerd Warriors swimming and diving coach Dan Anderson to keep them out of the varsity limelight.
In a 110-72 Central Lakes Conference victory over St. Cloud Apollo Thursday, Reese won the 50-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke and swam the butterfly leg on the first-place 200 medley relay, which included Robyn Wernberg, Dana Hanson and Kara Rutman.
Reese also was a member of the 200 free relay that had the fastest time but swam an exhibition race as the Warriors were sufficiently ahead at that point in the meet to claim the dual.
"I was intimidated the first time I swam (varsity)," Reese said, "but swimming with the big girls gives me motivation."
Reese was motivated in the 50 free, winning it in 27.24 seconds in her varsity debut in that event.
"I wasn't expecting that fast of a 50 free out of her," Anderson said. "She really wants to swim that race. She may force my hand here pretty soon, but I've got other plans for her."
In the breaststroke, her specialty, Reese churned out a personal-best time of 1:13.34.
"A 1:13 is like three seconds off of state cuts," Anderson said. "I don't want to start putting pressure on her but that's really fast."
Junior Brianna Elg was another double individual winner, pacing the individual medley in 2:32.33 and the 500 free in 6:03.88.
"I thought Brianna had two really good races," Anderson said. "Her 200 IM was within four seconds of her lifetime best. That was a real good 500 free for her, too."
Christie Nelson, another freshman, was among the individual winners, pacing the 200 free. Sophomore Katie Schindler won the 100 butterfly. Rutman, a junior, won the 100 free. And, Wernberg, a sophomore, won the 100 backstroke.
The victory was Brainerd's third overall in three meets and prepared it for a Sept. 23 showdown against Willmar, which lost its first meet of the season Thursday, 109-77 at St. Cloud Tech.
"This is one of the hardest-working teams I've ever had," Anderson said. "Practices have just been a pleasure.
"Considering we lost all those seniors off last year's team, this group is almost professional the way they approach practice. They're in on time. They work their tails off, almost like a machine. They've been a fun team to coach so far."
Brainerd 110, St. Cloud Apollo 72
200 medley relay -- 1-Brd (Robyn Wernberg, Dana Hanson, Jessica Reese, Kara Rutman) 2:08.59, 3-Brd (Cara Wiltse, Katie Schindler, Maggie Boland, Jodi Larson) 2:11.78, 5-Brd (Hilary Smith, Jenny Boran, Erika Dumbeck, Jackie Sellnow) 2:21.24
200 freestyle -- 1-Christie Nelson (B) 2:15.16, 3-Sadie Panzer (B) 2:22.71, 5-Joceyln Jones (B) 2:25.66
200 individual medley -- 1-Brianna Elg (B) 2:32.33, 3-Schindler 2:39.43, 5-Dana Hanson (B) 2:45.34
50 freestyle -- 1-Reese 27.24, 3-Rutman 28.33, 4-Wernberg 28.79
Diving -- 1-Kasya Mestnik (SCA) 150.75 points, 2-Macala Campbell (B) 143.8, 3-Courtney Sinner (B) 139.35, 5-Heather Erickson (B) 116.35
100 butterfly -- 1-Schindler 1:12.86, 3-Briana Hanson (B) 1:19.57, 4-Smith 1:21.05
100 freestyle -- 1-Rutman 1:02.77, 2-Jones 1:02.78, 3-Wiltse 1:03.33
500 freestyle -- 1-Elg 6:03.88, 2-Nelson 6:07.06, 4-Bateman 6:33.15
200 free relay -- 1-Apollo 1:52.04, Brainerd exhibition
100 backstroke -- 1-Wernberg 1:09.10, 2-Wiltse 1:09.13, 3-Panzer 1:12.58
100 breaststroke -- 1-Reese 1:13.34, 2-Dana Hanson 1:18.45, 4-Boland 1:22.47
400 free relay -- 1-Apollo 4:26.01, Brainerd exhibition
Conference -- SCA 0-3, B 2-0. Overall -- SCA 0-4, B 3-0. Next meet -- Willmar at Brainerd 6 p.m. Sept. 23.
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