There might have been times this season when Brainerd girls' swimming and diving coach Dan Anderson wondered if any Warrior would qualify for state.
The Warriors lost four dual meets in a regular season for the first time since 1998. They finished sixth in the Central Lakes Conference meet and were third out of four teams in the first True Team section meet.
In Anderson's previous 11 seasons in Brainerd, the Warriors only had two years when no individual qualified for state -- his first two.
The 200-yard medley relay of Robyn Wernberg (left), Jocelyn Jones, Jessica Reese and Brianna Elg will represent the Brainerd Warriors at the Class 2A state swimming and diving meet Tuesday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Reese also qualified in two individual events and Wernberg in one. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
Anderson's teams traditionally come on when it counts -- in the postseason. That's what happened last weekend when the Warriors qualified four individuals for state.
"You're fortunate any time you get kids to state," Anderson said, "and we're spoiled getting kids to the second day at state. The way this season went I was not counting these girls out. Who knows what they can do? They have exceeded my expectations already.
"They believe in our training, what we're doing. That's part of it, when they buy into it. Ultimately, we had the talent and made it happen. The kids have to do it. I just stand there and watch. I'm pretty proud of what they've accomplished."
The 200-yard medley relay of Robyn Wernberg, Jessica Reese, Brianna Elg and Jocelyn Jones advanced to state after winning the section title with a time of 1:55.57. They are seeded 22nd at state.
"It will be really fast," Anderson said of the relay. "Last year our medley relay went 1:57 and we placed. This year we went 1:55 and we're (22nd) right now.
"It's just one of those years. The girls have done a great job from day one. I think they can go faster. They were three seconds faster at section."
Swimming and diving
Class 2A state meet
University of Minnesota
Prelims -- 6 p.m. Tuesday
Finals -- 6 p.m. Wednesday
Reese qualified by state time standard in the 50 free at 25.60. The state standard was 25.61. She is seeded last out of 38 swimmers at state.
"A lot of girls made it in the 50," Anderson said. "There's probably 25-26 within a second of each other. Jessica thinks she can go faster. She's going to have to. It's really fast."
In the breaststroke, Reese also qualified by time standard at 1:09.87. The state standard was 1:10.53. She is the 24th seed at state.
"Again, she will have to go faster," Anderson said, "but I don't know how much more she has left in that race. She could go a couple 10ths faster, but the breaststroke is extremely fast."
Wernberg also qualified in the 100 backstroke with a section runner-up time of 1:04.70. That time makes her the last seed out of 28 at state.
"Robyn's a really strong kid," Anderson said. "Some kids, the more muscular athletes they are, the more rest they need. I hate to rest them too much for the section, have them make it to state and have nothing left. I'm hoping with another week of rest Robyn will be able to go faster. I didn't dare rest Robyn any more than I did for section."
State notes: Alternates on the 200 medley relay will be Dana Hanson (breaststroke), Katie Schindler (butterfly) and Christie Nelson (backstroke, freestyle.)
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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