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Swimming and Diving: Warriors rally to topple Tech

Brainerd Warrior Megan Wilhelm competes in the 200 medley relay against St. Cloud Tech Tuesday. Steve Kohls/Brainerd Dispatch Video and Gallery

Brainerd 97, Tech 89

Key: Brainerd finished 2-3-4 in three events

Conf: Brd 3-0, Tech 2-1

Overall: Brd 3-0, Tech 2-1

Next: Brainerd at Alexandria 6 p.m. Thursday

Tuesday's result rested on the shoulders of Madelynn Gibbons.

The junior was the final leg of Brainerd's 400-yard freestyle relay. A first-place finish and the Warriors would rally to defeat the St. Cloud Tech Tigers in a Central Lakes Conference dual meet at Brainerd High School.

Brainerd trailed Tech 87-85 going into the final relay. Gibbons had just finished placing third in the 100 backstroke and was feeling tired—until the noise started to build.

Jacquilyn Rude hit the water first and created a first-leg lead. Jamie Wallace bolted off the starting block and built on Rude's lead before making way for Katie Streiff. Then it was Gibbons' turn.

"I was super tired, but I just focused on the fact that I have a team behind me," said Gibbons. "They were looking forward to either a win or a loss so I just had to give it everything that I've got."

Gibbons did just that as she punched the wall for a winning time of 3:54.07.

The exciting finish was hampered only by the fact Tech's top relay was disqualified and so Brainerd finished 1-2 in the relay for a 97-89 victory. Despite that, the emotion was a good thing to feel for the long season.

"I think the last time we swam in an atmosphere like that was at Melrose last year," said Gibbons. "That was really intense, but those are always the best atmospheres to swim in because you get so pumped up. It's a lot of fun."

The dual meet was nip-and-tuck the entire night. The event was tied 15-15 before the 200 individual medley where Streiff picked up one of her two individual wins. Gaby VanHorn placed second and Sophie Exsted was fourth.

"We really needed this dual just by the way our schedule started off," said Warrior head coach Dan Anderson. "We swam against some younger teams so we needed a good meet like this just so we could step up our times. To be honest, I wasn't even looking at times. I was too busy looking at places. So I can't wait to look at the times, but I know I saw a couple up there that were really fast."

Tech tied the meet again after diving. Brainerd's Cami Harmer finished third, but scored a season-high 209.3 points.

Streiff's other win came in the 100 fly followed by Tarin Skinner third and Libby Zemke fourth. But Tech grabbed the top two places in the 100 freestyle and went 1-3 in the 200 free relay to build a cushion.

Isabelle Prozinski placed second in the backstroke followed by Exsted in third and Mira Strong in fourth. Then Brainerd saw VanHorn finish second in the breaststroke followed by Gibbons in third and Anna Just in fourth.

That set up the the exciting 400 free relay finish.

"We had it set up so that we had eight really fast girls at the end to swim those two relays," Anderson said. "We thought if we had to we could split them and go 1-2. That would have been pretty tight looking at the results. I don't think we could have, but luckily we just had enough nice finishes. You look at freshman Anna Just in the 100 breaststroke who just out touched their No. 2 girl for fourth. Those were some huge points.

"In the end, we just have a little bit more depth than they do."

The victory pushes Brainerd to 3-0 in the conference to keep pace with the defending champion Sartell Sabres. But there was no looking ahead after Tuesday night. Brainerd was enjoying the hard-fought win.

"Tonight was great because swimming is seen as an individual sport, but we all come together as a team," said Gibbons. "It's great to see in a dual meet like this and how close it was, you don't really focus on your times as much. You focus on watching the other people be so close and then getting that extra push in to beat the person next to them."

Brainerd 97, Tech 89

200 medley relay: 1-St. Cloud Tech 1:56.99, 2-Brainerd (Sophie Exsted, Megan Wilhelm, Katie Streiff, Macey Whitlock) 2:04.24; 3-Brainerd (Isabelle Prozinski, Gabby Van Horn, Tarin Skinner, Sidney Miller) 2:04.74

200 freestyle: 1-Emma Hoffmann (SCT) 2:07.29, 2-Madelynn Gibbons (B) 2:09.61, 3-Hannah Tatge (B) 2:11.28, 4-Jenna Host (B) 2:11.79

200 individual medley: 1-Streiff 2:22.55, 2-VanHorn 2:26.08, 4-Exsted 2:35.96

50 freestyle: 1-Emi Wagner (SCT) 26.04, 3-Jacquilyn Rude (B) 26.63, 4-Jamie Wallace (B) 27.16, 5-Miller 27.62

Diving: 1-Meredith Matchinsky 238.25, 3-Cami Harmer (B) 209.30, 4-Emma Korhonen (B) 178.25, 5-Izzy Olson (B) 148.80

100 butterfly: 1-Streiff 1:01.52, 3-Skinner 1:08.50, 4-Libby Zemke (B) 1:13.12

100 freestyle: 1-Haley Condon (SCT) 58.29, 3-Rude 58.52, 4-Wallace 59.41, 5-Prozinski 1:01.64

500 freestyle: 1-Emma Hoffmann (SCT) 5:47.58, 2-Host 5:54.59, 4-Tatge 6:00.09, 5-Madison Lund (B) 6:02.21

200 freestyle relay: 1-St. Cloud Tech 1:45.01, 2-Brainerd ( Rude, Wallace, Tatge, Gibbons) 1:48.91; 4-Brainerd (Silvia Schmitz, Macey Whitlock, Miller, Host) 1:51.42

100 backstroke: 1-Haley Condon (SCT) 1:05.68, 2-Prozinski 1:07.80, 3-Exsted 1:08.32, 4-Mira Strong (B) 1:11.92

100 breaststroke: 1-Claire Heller (SCT) 1:13.09, 2-VanHorn 1:13.80, 3-Gibbons 1:14.79, 4-Anna Just 1:21.47

400 freestyle relay: 1-Brainerd (Host, Prozinski, Tatge, Streiff) 3:54.07; 2-Brainerd (Rude, Wallace, VanHorn, Gibbons) 4:04.78

Jeremy Millsop

My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.

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