In Dan Anderson's 15 years as head coach of the Brainerd High School girls' swimming and diving program only two Warriors have found their way onto the podium at the state meet.
Cori Severson, in 2001, became the first individual in Anderson's tenure to place in the top eight, finishing fifth in the state 50-yard freestyle.
Last weekend, Jessica Reese joined Severson as an all-stater, finishing sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
Reese ended her career with four state appearances in the breaststroke, four in the 200 medley relay and two in the 200 free relay. She set the school record in the breaststroke and was a member of school-record teams on both relays.
The sixth-place finish was a delayed reward for Reese. As a junior she was seeded third in the state breaststroke race but was disqualified for moving on the starting block.
"I'm really happy I ended up finishing on my feet instead of DQing," Reese said. "It makes closure a lot easier. Swimming was a big part of my high school career. It makes school go a lot faster. I really hope they keep swimming next year (despite the failed referendum)."
Anderson recalls watching Reese as a fourth- or fifth-grader and realizing her potential.
Events: 100 breaststroke, 50 free, 200 medley relay, 200 free relay
Memorable sports achievement: Finishing sixth in 100 breaststroke
Grade-point average: 3.0
Favorite subject: Biology
Favorite food:Macaroni and cheese
Favorite TV show: "Grey's Anatomy"
Favorite Web site: www.myspace.com
Hobbies: Socializing with friends, outdoor activities
Future plans: Attend college, become nurse
Athlete she admires: Her swimming
Parents: Kim andDave Reese
"I also remember the summer before her freshman year (John) Zemke and I coached the summer kids and I thought, 'Wow, this girl's got some talent.'
"She improved a ton from her freshman year. She qualified for state her freshman year so it happened faster than I thought.
"It's hard to describe how difficult it is (for an outstate swimmer) to get on the podium. To be an all-state, top eight swimmer, it's tough."
Reese was disqualified in 2006 when she shifted her weight to her back foot.
"You're not allowed to move," Reese said. "I kind of did a rocking motion backward. I was the last person off the blocks but they still DQed me.
"I knew I would have made the podium last year. This year, it made me go faster. I was more determined."
Reese was seeded 10th in the state breaststroke last weekend. She went 1:07.19 in the prelims, 1:07.91 in the final.
"It went really fast," she said of the final. "I remember thinking before the race this is the last race that I will swim in high school so I just went out and did my thing. I'm happy with my finish, but I was a little disappointed I didn't go faster."
She swam the third leg of the 200 free relay, which was seeded 11th and finished 10th with a time of 1:39.79.
"That's the race I was most happy about," Reese said. "We broke 1:40, which is amazing. We were all splitting 25s and 24s on that relay. Everyone dropped a lot of time."
Reese swam the second leg on the 200 medley relay, which was seeded 12th and finished 12th.
"We weren't as fast as last year," Reese said. "We had a different backstroker (Siri Smith) but she swam as fast as Robyn (Wernberg) did last year. She has the same determination. She was a good addition to that relay. We just couldn't work it out this year with everyone's tapering."
Other notable efforts:
Samantha Smith, diving, finished 14th at state.
Colby Ring, football, rushed for 125 yards against Cretin-Derham Hall.
Nate Schaefbauer, football, passed for 135 yards and two TDs against C-DH.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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