Cori Severson will graduate as one of the most accomplished female swimmers in Brainerd High School history.
In the last two seasons, the senior has won four individual Section 8, Class 2A titles and been a member of four section championship relays. She has been named the top athlete of the section meet the last two years.
Add almost countless All-Central Lakes Conference honors, three school records and state appearances in seven events and there is no question Severson is one of the best Warriors ever.
"When she was a freshman, she was a skinny little thing," Warriors coach Dan Anderson said. "She was very tall and lanky. She had long arms and legs. There was not a lot of strength there. We made her into a distance swimmer. She didn't have the power to be a sprinter.
"Almost accidentally, we put her in the 50 free and she went too fast so we changed her events. She got older and stronger, another good example of what the weight room can do for an athlete. She had the power, technique and endurance to be a good sprinter."
Severson demonstrated all three qualities in last weekend's section meet. She repeated as champion in the 50 and 100 freestyles and anchored the 200 free and 400 free relays to victories.
Severson was confident entering the 50 that she could repeat.
"About the only competition was the girls from Brainerd," Severson said. "The only people I was nervous about were Katie Diiro and Jael Collins.
"The first year I kind of came out of nowhere and didn't really swim it. This year I could tell people wanted to beat me."
In the 100 free, Severson said her top competition again was from teammates.
"I wanted to do better," she said. "My goal the whole year was to break Dawn Clabo's school record (53.9 seconds). My best is 54.7."
Severson anchored both section relays. Teammates in the 200 free relay were Katie Boran, Amanda Bateman and Diiro. Erica Campbell, Bateman and Krystal Halverson joined Severson in the 400 free relay.
"In a close race, there's a lot of pressure," Severson said of anchoring relays. "You feel like everything is riding on your shoulders. At the section, we had so much talent that by the time I hit the water, it wasn't up to me anymore."
Anderson said Severson has been the performer that teammates look to deliver when the pressure is on.
"When you have a reputation, everyone is gunning for you," he said. "I can think of so many times she came through for us. She held on to win the last relay at Grand Rapids to start this season. That kind of set us on the right track. We won that meet by two points. Whether she likes it or not, she's the one the other girls look for."
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
The 200 medley relay of Jael Collins, Sarah Gervais, Krista Rauen and Katie Diiro was the section runner-up.
Christina Roberts was section runner-up in the 200 free.
Katie Diiro was second in the section 50 free.
Krista Rauen was section runner-up in the 100 butterfly.
(Athlete of the week is honored by the Brainerd Sports Boosters Club).
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