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Boys Swimming & Diving: Warriors pile up wins, capture team title

Through the season’s first four meets, Brainerd’s Joey Stromberg is unbeaten in two events.

The senior piled on to his victory total in Friday’s Brainerd Boys Swimming and Diving Invitational and helped the Warriors to the team title.

Stromberg remained unbeaten in the 100 butterfly and was a member of first-place 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays. He has been on four winning 200 free relays and on three first-place 200 medley relays. He also placed sixth in the 50 free.

“Joey’s having a great senior year,” Warriors coach John Zemke said. “... His (butterfly) time is as good now as it ever has been during the season. He’s swimming well. He wants to make the most of his senior year. He spent a lot of time in the offseason working to improve, so he’s off to a good start.

“He works hard. We’re happy to have him around.”

Stromberg, likewise, is happy with how his final prep season is going.

“I’ve dropped quite a bit of time in my (butterfly),” he said. “Then I feel like as a whole, our team is really strong this year. I think we’re going to do really well.”

Stromberg and teammates Matt Majerle, Joe Wells and Dan Larson got the Warriors off to a rousing start with a winning time of 1:46.20 in the medley relay.

“I feel like we swam really well,” Stromberg said. “Our starts seemed good.”

Five events later, Stromberg scored an upset in the butterfly with a time of 58.08. He entered the event with the second-fastest seed time (57.99), trailing Minneapolis Southwest’s Peter Lefebvre’s 55.0.

“I wasn’t expecting a win for that one actually because they had the seed times up on the board and (Lefebvre) was at 55 so I just went in and gave it my all,” Stromberg said. “And I came out and got (the win).”

Stromberg and David Supinski, Justin Kuglin and Larson later won the 200 free relay.

“We have a good 200 relay,” Stromberg said. “We have a lot of fast guys on that.”

In all, the Warriors won six events and amassed 690 points to outdistance runner-up Melrose/Sauk Centre by 165 points.

“It definitely shows all of our hard work during practice,” Stromberg said of winning the meet. “We’ve had some tough practices the past couple of weeks. We have a lot of hard-workers. This should show good things for the future. We should go places.”

Zemke said the event has a more relaxed atmosphere and breaks up the monotony of training during Christmas break.

“We only had four teams this year. That might have had a little to do with the date, but that’s the way it goes,” Zemke said. “We would have liked to have had a few more teams but Minneapolis Southwest is always a good program. Melrose has been coming here for a long time, they always have a number of good swimmers. Bemidji was in our section for a long time and also has a number of good swimmers.

“It’s been a nice way to go into the end of the year.”

Brainerd’s other wins were by Nick Goll in the 200 freestyle, Seth Murrey in diving and Joe Wells in the breaststroke.

“Nick won the 200 free, that was a nice effort,” Zemke said. “Joe had a season-best time in the breaststroke so it was nice to see him dropping time. We were hit and miss on season-best times today but overall it was a good performance.”

Team scores: 1-Brainerd 690, 2-Melrose/Sauk Centre 525, 3-Minneapolis Southwest 466, 4-Bemidji 326

200 medley relay: 1-Brainerd (Matt Majerle, Joe Wells, Joey Stromberg, Dan Larson) 1:46.20; 3-Brainerd (Preston Owen, Jared Sachs, Parker Fredrickson, Mitch Quall) 1:51.79

200 freestyle: 1-Nick Goll (B) 1:54.86, Justin Kuglin (B) 1:56.43, 5-Matt Wright (B) 2;)1.02, 11-Gunnar Niemeyer (B) 2:13.40

200 individual medley: 1-Jacob Totall (MSW) 2:09.28, 2-Majerle 2:11.06, 3-Peder Smith 2:13.03, 5-Owen 2:19.75, 10-Hanson Devine (B) 2:29.07

50 freestyle: 1-Karl Schwarzkopf (MSW) 22.81, 3-David Supinski 23.58, 5-Larson 24.57, 6-Stromberg 24.73, 9-Quall 25.89

Diving: 1-Seth Murrey (B) 201.55, 2-Robert Young (B) 151.25, 3-Randy Clark (B) 127.40

100 butterfly: 1-Stromberg 58.08, 3-Joe Wells 1:00.75, 4-Sachs 1:02.53, 5-Fredrickson 1:02.93

100 freestyle: 1-Schwarzkopf 50.42, 2-(tie) Kuglin & Supinski 51.22, 10-Larson 56.20, 12-Lyscio 59.33

500 freestyle: 1-Totall 5:09.35, 2-Goll 5:10.91, 4-Smith 5:25.45, 5-Wright 5:29.0, 7-Niemeyer 5:53.79

200 freestyle relay: 1-Brainerd (Supinski, Stromberg, Kuglin, Larson) 1:35.56; 4-Brainerd (Joe Wells, Sachs, Smith, Goll) 1:38.53; 10-Brainerd (Greatens, Wickman, Alex Vukelich, Tommy Wells) 1:57.80;

100 backstroke: 1-Lefebvre 57.40, 3-Owen 59.91, 4-Majerle 1:00.86, 8-Troy Bialka (B) 1:09.56, 12-Quall 1:14.57

100 breaststroke: 1-Joe Wells 1:05.66, 3-Sachs 1:12.49, 6-Devine 1:16.82, 10-Kelm 1:21.23

400 freestyle relay: 1-Southwest 3:24.60, 2-Brainerd (Smith, Supinski, Goll, Kuglin) 3:24.94; 5-Brainerd (Majerle, Wright, Owen, Quall) 3:44.73; 8-Brainerd (Greatens, Murrey, Tommy Wells, Tusler) 4:27.20; 11-8-Brainerd (Vukelich, Clark, Young, VanRisseghem) 4:50.66.

MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at