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Boys Swimming and Diving: Warriors working on depth

It's quality not quantity when speaking of returning swimmers and divers for the Brainerd Warriors. The number of returners from last year's Brainerd team that finished 8-0 overall and won Section 8-2A and Central Lakes Conference titles is low. ...

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Returning state entrants Matt Majerle (left), David Supinski and Peder Smith work on their kick this week in practice. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

It’s quality not quantity when speaking of returning swimmers and divers for the Brainerd Warriors.

The number of returners from last year’s Brainerd team that finished 8-0 overall and won Section 8-2A and Central Lakes Conference titles is low. But for a program that has won three straight conference titles and six section titles in eight years that doesn’t mean much.

“St. Cloud Tech has the most points back from our conference meet and Sartell is second,” said Warriors head coach John Zemke. “We are third with most points coming back from the conference. Tech has a deep team. They were third in the Section 8-2A meet and second in the True Team meet behind us.

“So on paper we’re sitting third in the conference. In the section, we bring in St. Michael-Albertville and then Tech and Elk River and us are sitting in that third or fourth spot. But the kids are working very hard and it’s a fun group to be around.”

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Head coach: John Zemke, 18th season

  • Career record: 124-20-1 (.855)
  • 2013-14 record: 8-0 CLC, 8-0 overall, first in Central Lakes Conference, first in Section 8-2A
  • Returning state meet participants: Seth Murray , David Supinski , Peder Smith
  • Assistant coaches: Carl Schirmer, Owen Trout (diving)

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Of those returning is senior David Supinski, who swam in four events during last year’s Class 2A state meet. Supinski finished 19th in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.06. He was 18th in the 100 freestyle with a 48.69.

“We are very excited to have him back,” said Zemke. “He led us in points last year with 426 as a junior. He was on two relays that are school-record holders so it’s great to have him back in the water. He had a great summer of training. He’s taller and stronger and he looks fantastic in the water. We’re excited to see what he’s going to do for us.”

While his expertise are in sprints, Zemke may move Supinski around to backstroke to butterfly.

Supinski anchored Brainerd’s fifth-place 200-yard freestyle relay as well as Brainerd’s eighth-place 400 free relay. Also on the 400 relay was junior Peder Smith, who also swam a 19th-place 4:52.66 in the 500 freestyle at state.

“Peder is very versatile,” Zemke said. “At last year’s section meet he swam the 200 individual medley and the 500 free which is an interesting combination. And he had great times in both going to state in the 500. We can move him around in different places. He can swim the backstroke. If we ever were able to put our best backstrokers in that event during the same meet we would be tough to beat.

“Peder looks great. He swam a lot this summer and fall. He looks so effortless to watch in practice. It looks like he’s just sitting back and cruising up and down the pool, but he’s not. He’s working very hard.”

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Seth Murray finished 30th during last year’s state diving prelims. He was second at the section meet.

“Seth is very talented and came in in great shape,” Zemke said. “He looks great on the board. It’s going to take a good diver to beat him. Our diving coach Owen Trout does a great job with those guys. Seth could be top eight in state. He could go out and win all of our duals and win the section championship.”

Also back on the diving board is junior Robert Young, who just missed state by finishing fifth in the section meet. The top four divers in the section advance to state.

Junior Matt Majerle led off Brainerd’s 13th-place 200 medley relay, which swam a time of 1:39.56 in the finals of the state meet.

“He’s only a junior, but it seems like he’s been around for 15 years,” Zemke said. “Matt was third on our team in points behind David and Peder. He can backstroke and swims the IM. We can move Matt into other things like the breaststroke. It’s going to be tough at the end of the year trying to decide where to have him swim. He’s one of the hardest-working swimmers on the team.”

As an eighth-grader, Preston Owen racked up 274 points for the Warriors. This year he’s one of the early leaders in practice, Zemke said.

“Preston has a lot of talent and he’s very efficient in the water,” he added. “He goes a long way with his technique. He’s very efficient in the water and because of that he had a great eighth-grade year. He was right up there in the section meet. He’ll be one of our go-to guys.”

Expect the same from sophomore Devan Liebeg. Although a relative rookie to the sport, Liebeg sped onto the scene at the section meet by clocking top times in both the 50 and 100 frees.

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“He just started swimming with us in seventh grade,” Zemke said. “He’s a sophomore this year and he had a breakout year last year. He’s a true sprinter. He’s just a gamer.”

Parker Fredrickson scored more than 110 points last year and will man the 100 butterfly. Fellow senior Mitch Quall was close to 100 points last season and along with Cody Tusler will provide senior leadership for the Warriors.
Warriors roster

Seniors: Cody Tusler, David Supinski, Mitch Quall, Parker Fredrickson, Seth Murray

Juniors: Hanson Devine, Matthew Majerle, Peder Smith, Robert Young, Ryan Tout, Zach Rude

Sophomores: Alexander Vukelich, Benjamin Wickman, Devan Liebeg, Jordan VanRisseghem, Mike Lyscio, Thomas Wells

Freshmen: Charles Rude, David Kelm, Eric Rude, Gunnar Niemeyer, Michael Bylander, Patrick Kennedy, Preston Owen

Eighth-grade: Andy Dillon, Jacob VanRisseghem
Warrior schedule Dec. 12, at Alexandria 6 p.m.
Dec. 16, St. Cloud Tech 6 p.m.
Dec. 18, at Willmar 6 p.m.
Dec. 30, Warrior Invitational 1 p.m.
Jan. 3, University of Minnesota Invite noon
Jan. 8, at Rocori
Jan. 10, Sartell 6 p.m.
Jan. 17, True Team meet at St. Cloud Tech 10 a.m.
Jan. 20, at St. Cloud Apollo
Jan. 22, Fergus Falls 6 p.m.
Feb. 5, Sauk Rapids
Feb. 14 Central Lakes Conference at Alexandria noon

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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