Girls Swimming & Diving: Warriors have talent, tools to contend for titles
With a "ton of talent" and "tools" returning, the Brainerd Warriors should compete for Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-2A championships again this fall.
Four state entrants and six All-CLC performers return from a team that went undefeated, tied for the CLC title and finished third in the section behind defending champion St. Michael-Albertville and Maple Grove.
State entrants include seniors Fallon Ryan and Reilly Peterson, junior Hannah McKeag and freshman Katie Streiff. That foursome, along with Alyssa Williams and Sydney Erickson, were All-CLC performers.
Ryan finished 32nd at state in the 200 freestyle but missed qualifying in the 500 free, her specialty event. Warriors coach Dan Anderson said he may take Ryan out of the 500 free to swim the 100 and 200, events he expects her to qualify for state. She also will swim on both free relays.
Swimming and diving
- Head coach: Dan Anderson, 29th season (22nd at Brainerd, 7 at Rock Springs, Wyo.)
- Brainerd record: 158-46 (.774)
- Career record: 224-77-1 (.741)
- 2013 finish: 8-0 CLC, 10-0 overall
- Returning state entrants: Fallon Ryan, Reilly Peterson, Hannah McKeag, Katie Streiff
- Assistant coaches: Ann Stenglein (21st season), Mary Streiff (16th season), Kris Peterson (volunteer, 2nd season)
"Fallon had some health issues at the wrong time," Anderson said. "She sure looks like she's back and healthy again. She had a really good winter of swimming, so she's kind of back on her feet. She had a good summer. She's looked really good so far.
"We think we can get three relays to state this year. The talent is here."
Peterson went to state with the medley relay, which finished 11th. She most likely will swim the IM and 100 free along with two relays.
"We made the decision late in the year to swim Reilly on three relays at the section meet," Anderson said, "and because of that our medley relay made it to state. She was also on the 400 free relay, which just missed going to state last year.
"Reilly can swim anywhere we need her to swim. She will be counted on with relays."
McKeag went to state with the medley relay. She will swim backstroke and 50 free this year and be on the medley relay and 400 free relay. She set the backstroke school record as a freshman.
"Hannah has the potential to break the school record in the 50 too," Anderson said. "I look for her to qualify for state in the 50 free and 100 back. She should be on both relays again. Both relays should be state qualifying relays.
"Hannah's a veteran. She looks great in practice."
Streiff was voted the team's most valuable swimmer in her first varsity season. She finished 20th at state in the 100 butterfly and was on the medley relay. She set the school butterfly record last year and swam on the medley and 200 free relays.
"She's just a kid blessed with a ton of talent," Anderson said. "We have high hopes for her. I think she can place in the IM and butterfly at state this year. She's actually stronger than she was last year. She's going to do good things."
Anderson expects contributions from many others, including junior Alyssa Williams in the 200 and 100 freestyles.
"Since she was a freshman Alyssa's been on the 400 free relay," Anderson said. "She's getting better and better, she's getting stronger. I'm expecting big things out of her this year."
Junior Allison Crum will compete in the 200 and 500 freestyle races.
"Allison continues to get better," Anderson said. "We will have to count on her if we move Fallon out of the 500 because that's Allison's race. We're confident she can take that over."
Junior Helena Wise will most likely swim the 100 fly and 100 back.
"Helena's a hard-worker," Anderson said. "She's really starting to come into her own. She's maybe a little bit of a late bloomer. I think she will have a breakout year."
Sophomore Julia Wallace will be in the 200 IM and 100 back.
"Julia just trains so hard. She's so driven," Anderson said. "She's just a great kid to have in the pool. She's got the heart of a lion. She's going to have a big year."
Freshman Jamie Wallace, in her second varsity season, will swim the 50 free or 100 fly or possibly the 500 free.
"Jamie's going to be a whole different swimmer this year," Anderson said.
Erickson, a sophomore, will swim the 200 free and 100 butterfly.
"Sydney's one of the top five flyers in program history, and she's only a sophomore," Anderson said. "She has a ton of talent."
Williams, Crum, Wise, the Wallaces and Erickson will also compete on relays.
Senior captain Baylee Bessinpass is the most experienced diver returning. The Warriors must replace the graduated Beth Etterman, whose seventh-place finish at state tied her sister, Katy, for the highest finish in program history.
"Bailey will place in the section meet. That's not an easy thing to do," Anderson said.
Additional divers are Vanessa Britton, Cami Harmer, Anna Herath, Marissa Rahn and eighth-grader Kayla Deason and Lexie Bible.
"Cami's on the cusp of being a very good diver," Anderson said. "She's got to add a couple dives, but she certainly has all the tools.
"Anna probably has shown the most improvement. She's really starting to come into her own.
"Vanessa and Marissa will be in the mix."
• Returning letterwinners
Seniors: Baylee Bessinpass, Annie Grabowski, Hailey Hensel, Reilly Peterson, Fallon Ryan, Savanna Savage, Sammy Schultz, Kaelyn Spencer
Juniors: Mia Berry, Haley Bradford, Allison Crum, Samantha Hartman, Lydia Larson, Sierra Lund, Hannah McKeag, Abby Rubado, Sami Selter, Alyssa Williams, Helena Wise
Sophomores: Vanessa Britton, Sydney Erickson, Kylie Lange, Julia Wallace
Freshmen: Libby Fabian, Cami Harmer, Katie Streiff, Jamie Wallace
Sophomores: Mykala Griffin, Anna Herath, Melanie Jacobson, Maggie Mattson, Marissa Rahn
Freshmen: Anna Dillon, Britnay Anderson, Elizabeth Everson, Peyton Loss, Madison Lund, Tarin Skinner, Megan Wilhelm
Eighth-graders: Kayla Deason, Lexie Bible
• Warriors Schedule
Aug 26, Bemidji 6 p.m.
Aug 28, Alexandria 6 p.m.
Sept 4, at St. Cloud Tech 6 p.m.
Sept 11, at Sauk Rapids 6 p.m.
Sept 13, at Park Rapids Invitational 9 a.m.
Sept 16, Rocori 6 p.m.
Sept 18, at Sartell 6 p.m.
Sept 25, at Fergus Falls 6 p.m.
Oct 2, at Melrose 6 p.m.
Oct 9, St. Cloud Apollo 6 p.m.
Oct 11, Section 8-2A True Team at St. Cloud Tech,
Oct 14, Willmar 6 p.m.
Oct 25, Conference championship at Alexandria noon