Brainerd Warrior girl swimmers and divers are used to winning.
From 1999-2003 the Warriors won four conference team titles, one section team championship and were section team runners-up four times.
The 2004 season has been a different experience for the Warriors. Following a 107-77 loss Tuesday to the Fergus Falls Otters, the Warriors finished their dual-meet season 6-4, the first time Brainerd has lost four meets since 1998.
But there's no need to abandon ship. Many teams would do anything to be 6-4, and there are still titles to be won in conference and section meets.
"We're just a different team than we've been the last couple years, but these girls work every bit as hard in practice," Warriors head coach Dan Anderson said. "You just can't always be on top."
Julianna Carlson, one of the team's four captains and a four-year varsity regular, agreed it has been a different year.
"It's definitely a new experience to lose but going into this year, based on a lot of swimmers' points of view, we actually did better than what we thought we were going to do since we lost so many of our varsity swimmers from last year," she said.
The Warriors won only three events Tuesday. Courtney Sinner won diving, Jessica Reese paced the 100-yard breaststroke and Cara Wiltse, Robyn Wernberg, Christie Nelson and Sadie Panzer joined forces to win the 400 free relay.
Fergus Falls, a quality opponent, placed seventh in the first Class 1A True Team meet last weekend. The Otters competed in the True Team without senior standout Stacy Busak, who won the 1A state 50 and 100 free titles last year.
"She was on a recruiting trip to Arkansas," Anderson said. "She's a legitimate Division I kid.
"They're the best team we've swam all year. We didn't do particularly well but part of that is where we're at in our training right now."
The meet marked the final home appearance of 17 seniors, including Carlson.
"I was sad and very happy at the same time," she said. "I know that some of our people swam their best races ever (Tuesday). Everyone is happy about that, but it's also really sad since it's my last home meet with all of these girls."
Anderson said there were 24 seniors in 2003.
"As these two groups came through we had huge numbers," he said. "They've done an excellent job this year, the seniors, making the freshmen feel welcome, carrying on a pretty good tradition. They're tremendous leaders."
Fergus Falls 107, Brainerd 77
200 medley relay -- 1-FF 1:58.02, 2-Brainerd (Robyn Wernberg, Jessica Reese, Brianna Elg, Jocelyn Jones) 2:00.69, 4-Brd (Cara Wiltse, Dana Hanson, Katie Schindler, Sadie Panzer), 5-Brd (Hilary Smith, Danielle Marolt, Brianna Hanson, Claire Radomski)
200 freestyle -- 1-Jennie Miller (FF) 2:13.22, 2-Elg 2:14.11, 3-Wernberg, 5-Connie London (Brd)
200 individual medley -- 1-Karin Koenig (FF) 2:28.19, 3-Christie Nelson (Brd) 2:33.17, 5-Schindler, 6-Dana Hanson
50 freestyle -- 1-Stacy Busack (FF) 25.00, 4-Reese 27.33, 5-Jones, 6-Jodi Larson (Brd)
Diving -- 1-Courtney Sinner (Brd) 163.30 points, 2-Macala Campbell (Brd) 162.85, 4-Jenny Klabo (Brd)
100 butterfly -- 1-Breanne Pendergrass (FF) 1:05.61, 2-Elg 1:08.34, 4-Panzer, 5-Schindler
100 freestyle -- 1-Busack 55.53, 3-Jones 1:01.96, 5-Wiltse, 6-Larson
500 freestyle -- 1-Miller 5:50.75, 2-Nelson 6:02.41, 4-Jenny Boran, 6-Dayna Raboin (Brd)
200 freestyle relay 1-FF 1:45.59, 2-Brd (Jones, Nelson, Reese, Elg) 1:51.01, 4-Brd (Schindler, Larson, Melissa Wentworth, London), 5-Brd (Maggie Boland, Heather Erickson, Tijana Tripkovic, Jessica Bateman)
100 backstroke -- 1-Pendergrass 1:05.31, 3-Wernberg 1:08.90, 4-Wiltse, 5-Panzer
100 breaststroke -- 1-Reese 1:12.39, 5-Dana Hanson, 6-Gracie Kelm (Brd)
400 freestyle relay -- 1-Brd (Wiltse, Wernberg, Nelson, Panzer) 4:15.58, 2-Brd (Bateman, Wentworth, London, Larson) 4:24.50, 3-Brd (Jackie Sellnow, Smith, Raboin, Erickson)
Overall -- Brd finishes 6-4.
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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