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McKeag, Warriors fly to season-opening win

Justin Kuglin swam the 200 individual medley in Brainerd’s opener Thursday again

After Josh McKeag finished the 100-yard butterfly, he looked around and waited. And waited and waited. McKeag's winning time of 57.52 bested teammate Justin Kuglin's second-place time by almost seven seconds and highlighted the Brainerd Warriors 114-71 Central Lakes Conference victory over the St. Cloud Tech Tigers at Brainerd High School.

It's the 15th-straight home dual meet win for the Warriors, who snagged nine first-place finishes. "That's one of the fastest 100 flys in a first meet that we've had in a long, long time," said Warriors head coach John Zemke. "Josh looked great and he's looked great in practice. The time is surprising, but the way he's looked in practice it's really not. A great day for him.

He also had a great split in the backstroke of the 200 medley relay." McKeag won the 100 backstroke in 1:00.28 and helped the Warriors' 200 medley relay and 400 free relays to first. Yet, it was the butterfly that surprised most people, including the sophomore who swam it. "Right when I came off the start I was doing pretty good," said McKeag. "I got my underwater kicks in and went down and made a real nice turn. It all just seemed perfect. I'm really surprised with my time. I swam just a second faster than that in sections (last season) so I'm pretty pumped."

Tyler Schneider was also a multiple winner, taking home firsts in the 200 and 500 freestyles. He won the 200 in 1:57.72 and the 500 in 5:29.39. Kuglin won the 200 individual medley in 2:21.7. Bradyn Watson claimed the breaststroke in 1:08.72 and Britton Murrey dove to a first-place 213.15.

"The fly, back and breaststrokes were all nice tonight," said Zemke. "We had some young kids in the IM that swam well tonight. Justin Kuglin is only a freshman and he had a nice IM and a nice fly. We just have to keep plugging away."

The foursome of McKeag, Watson, Kuglin and Sam Dellacecca won the 200 medley relay in 1:46.04 and Dellacecca, Schneider, Kuglin and McKeag were the winning 400 free relay. "We just have to get in shape," said Zemke. "We've only had eight practices. We just have to work better at getting in shape. Fundamentally, I thought that part was good. We just need to hit the yardage and start training." Zemke called Brainerd's home winning streak dumb luck. The last time Brainerd lost at home was Jan. 9, 2007 to Fergus Falls. McKeag, who was in sixth grade when the streak started had other thoughts.

"This is our house and we just need to defend it," said McKeag. "Anyone coming up here should be expecting to lose."

Brainerd 114, St. Cloud Tech 71 200 medley relay: 1-Brainerd (Josh McKeag, Bradyn Watson, Justin Kuglin, Sam Dellacecca) 146:04, 3-Brainerd (Matt Majerle, Justin Sachs, John Wells, Britton Murrey) 1:57.42 200 freestyle: 1-Tyler Schneider (Brd) 1:57.72, 3-Andrew Solseth (Brd) 2:06.23, Adam Warren (Brd) 2:07.66 200 individual medley: 1-Kuglin (Brd) 2:21.70, 4-Anderson (Brd) 2:25.82, Chase Wickman (Brd) 2:43.43 50 freestyle: 1-Brady Lavoi (SCT) 23.66, 2-Dellacecca (Brd) 24.17, 3-Warling (Brd) 24.51, 5-Wells (Brd) 25.95 Diving: 1-Britton Murrey (Brd) 213.15, 3-Seth Murrey (Brd) 1:37.20, 4-Jack Eggen (Brd) 1:14.0 100 butterfly: 1-McKeag (Brd) 57.52, 2-Kuglin (Brd) 1:04.66, 4-Wickman (Brd) 1:07.90 100 freestyle: 1-Lavoi (SCT) 52.12, 2-Dellacecca (Brd) 53.18, 3-Watson (Brd) 54.65, 5-Warling (Brd) 56.07 500 freestyle: 1-Schneider (Brd) 5:29.39, 5-Solseth (Brd) 55:03.2, 6-Nick Goll (Brd) 5:54.43 200 freestyle relay: 1-St. Cloud Tech 1:38.99, 2-Brainerd (Watson, Warling, Solseth, Schneider) 1:42.34, 3-Brainerd (Wells, Matt Wright, Warren, Anderson) 1:43.74, 5-Brainerd (Britton Murrey, Sachs, Andy Olsen, Jack Wickman) 1:49.66 100 backstroke: 1-McKeag (Brd) 1:00.28, 4-Luke Jacobsen (Brd) 1:06.3, 5-Majerle (Brd) 1:08.46 100 breaststroke: 1-Watson (Brd) 1:08.72, 3-Sachs (Brd) 1:15.2, 4-Anderson (Brd) 1:13.22 400 freestyle relay: 1-Brainerd (Dellacecca, Schneider, Kuglin, McKeag) 3:38.4, Brainerd (Wells, Warren, Wickman, Solseth) 3:52.34, 4-Brainerd (Britton Murrey, Majerle, Trever Vukelich, Goll) 4:08.74J