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WARRIORS ATHLETE OF WEEK: Watson well-rounded standout

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sports Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Bradyn Watson is as accomplished as a musician and in the classroom as he is in the water.

The Brainerd Warriors senior captain, who sports a 4.04 grade-point average, plays the saxophone and piano and plans to major in music in college.

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“He’s fantastic,” Warriors coach John Zemke said. “I’ve listened to him play a few times. He’s an amazing talent. He’s certainly been the leader of our team for quite a few years. 

“He’s got a lot of talent. Swimming happens to be just one of them.”

Watson said he likes to apply the same intensity to his music and academics that he does swimming.

“Music is something that comes naturally to me,” he said. “I feel like when I move on in life I want to be doing something I really enjoy.”

Right now Watson enjoys being in the water. He leads the Warriors in individual victories (11) and has been a member of five first-place relays.

Last week, Watson won two individual events against Sartell and captured two titles in the Tiger Invite at the University of Minnesota. He added two more individual wins and a relay title against Willmar on Tuesday.

At the Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Watson was seeded first in the 200-yard individual medley and won with a time of 2:12.32.

“I knew that it’s a fast pool,” Watson said. “I was in the fastest heat. I didn’t know what was going to happen so I went out with the mindset that I was going to race whoever comes up to me and win it.”

In the breaststroke he again was the top seed and recorded a winning time of 1:04.55.

“I knew I was racing some tough guys,” Watson said, “and I knew I would have to be on my ‘A’ game.”

Watson joined Josh McKeag, Justin Kuglin and Sam Dellacecca to finish second in the 200 medley relay, which was seeded second. Sartell, the No. 1 seed, lost to the Warriors in a dual meet two days earlier.

“Even though we were seeded second we were feeling confident that we would give them a good race,” Watson said. “They ended up beating us at the end so that was kind of disappointing.”

The Aquatic Center is one of Watson’s favorite pools.

“Every aspect of it, the blocks are great, the walls are great, it’s the right temperature,” he said. “It has an aura about it as the fastest pool in the Upper Midwest. You get really jacked up when you get to swim there.”

Watson, in his second year as a captain, placed eighth at state in the medley relay and 15th in the 100 breaststroke in 2010.

“He’s definitely someone we look to for leadership, being a captain last year and this year,” Zemke said. “He hasn’t lost in the breaststroke yet this year, so he’s doing really well. We’re excited about where he can end up this season. We’re hoping with training that everything will come together.

“He was a finalist last year in the section (IM). We’re not sure  what his second event might be. He’ll try the 100 fly a couple times, see how does in that. For sure he will be in the breaststroke at the section. Obviously, he will be on the medley relay, and either the 200 free or 400 free relays.”

Relays happen to be Watson’s favorite events — if he has one.

“I like them all, but personally I really like relays,” he said. “I feel like that is really the closest you get to a team sport in swimming. You aren’t going to win a relay unless you have four guys out there doing their best.”

Other notable efforts:

• Tyler Schneider and Josh McKeag, swimming, each won two events against Sartell.

• Mitch Bzdok, boys basketball, scored 20 points against Sauk Rapids.

• Britton Murrey, diving, scored a season-high 256.85 points for first place against Willmar.

• Emily Branum, girls basketball, scored 21 points against Willmar.

• Savannah Stone, Alpine skiing, won the girls title at the St. Cloud Invite.

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or at 855-5861.

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