With 18 seniors back the Brainerd Warrior boys' swimming and diving team has a bull's-eye on its back.
Brainerd won Central Lakes Conference, Section 8-2A True Team and Section 8-2A championships last season and is set to make tidal waves this season, which is scheduled to open Friday night at Willmar.
"We're very excited," Warriors coach John Zemke said. "It's just a lot of fun to go to practice every day, and watch them tear it up in the pool. We're doing things now that we were probably doing at the middle of last year.
"The guys are much bigger, and stronger. It's such a huge difference with 17- and 18-year-olds in the water. Their ability to practice, and their ability to go through the sets we're doing already, is pretty impressive."
Jared Anderson swam the 100-yard butterfly in a meet last season. Anderson was Class 2A state champion in the event as a sophomore and state runner-up last season. Brainerd Dispatch
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Head coach: John Zemke, 12th season.
Career record: 81-15-1 (.844)
2007-08 record: 8-0 CLC, 9-0 overall, Central Lakes Conference champion, Section 8-2A champion, Section 8-2A True Team champion
Returning state meet participants: Jared Anderson, Michael Brekken, Michael Ruen, Evan Reese, Britton Murrey, Keenan Goodrich
Assistant coaches: Carl Schirmer, Owen Trout
12: at Willmar, 6 p.m.
18: at Rocori, 6 p.m.
30: BRD Invite, 9 a.m.
3: at University of Minnesota Inv., 5:30 p.m.
8: Sartell, 6 p.m.
13: at St. Cloud Apollo, 6 p.m.
15: Fergus Falls, 6 p.m.
17: Section 8-2A True Team at Alexandria, 4 p.m.
24: Class 2A state True Team, University of Minnesota, 11 a.m.
27: Sauk Rapids-Rice, 6 p.m.
29: at Alexandria, 6 p.m.
5: St. Cloud Tech, 6 p.m.
12: Diving conference, at Alexandria, 7 p.m.
14: Conference championship, at Alexandria, noon
Senior Jared Anderson heads the returning group. As a sophomore he won the 100-yard butterfly Class 2A state championship in timed finals (due to a blizzard). Last year he was state runner-up in the butterfly and 13th in the 200 individual medley.
He is being recruited by Big Ten programs and Notre Dame.
"He will definitely be our horse, and go-to guy, in certain events," Zemke said. "We expect big things out of him, as we do from all our seniors and underclassmen."
Senior Michael Ruen, placed 19th at state in the 100 butterfly and was a member of the 200 medley relay team that was eighth.
"Michael had a great summer, training-wise," Zemke said. "He looks great in the water. We expect a big year from him."
Other top seniors include Michael Brekken, Jake Larson, Andrew Goll, Josh Sachs and Trevor Howard.
Brekken was on the state medley relay and set a school record.
Two years ago, the 6-4, 200-pound Larson switched from diving to swimming and has become a top point-scorer.
Goll was a top eight finisher in the section 200 and 100 frees. Sachs placed third in the section breaststroke, just missing going to state in that event. Howard had a "nice year as a junior," according to Zemke.
Keenan Goodrich and Britton Murrey give Brainerd a sound diving corps. Both competed at state last season, with Murrey placing 14th and Goodrich 24th.
Zemke is counting on three juniors to score many points. Evan Reese anchored the state medley relay, Alek Rudstrom was top eight in the section 100 free and 100 back. Jon Warling finished in the top eight in the section 200 free and 100 fly.
"We won't have too many weak events," Zemke said. "From a team that won the section by 60 points we lost three point scorers. Everyone else is back."
Seniors: Jared Anderson, Mike Brekken, Clark Eggen, Joe Fritscher, Will Fritscher, Andrew Goll, Keenan Goodrich, Nate Henningson, Trevor Howard, Peter Jacobsen, Brian Kolbeck, Cory Kuglin, Jake Larson, Wiley Radomski, Mike Ruen, Josh Sachs, Morgan Salo, Cory Thomsen
Juniors: Ethan Davis, Caleb Johnson, Evan Reese, Alek Rudstrom, Jonathan Warling
Sophomores: Jake Eggen, Britton Murrey, Justin Sachs, Bradyn Watson, John Wells
Freshmen: Trent Anderson, Sam Dellacecca, Blake Helwig, Robert Rude, Tyler Schneider, Andrew Solseth, Adam Warren, Chase Wickman
Eighth grade: Josh McKeag
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 855-5861
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