Boys Swimming and Diving: Sumption, Warriors remain unbeaten with win over Alex

The Brainerd Warriors hosted the Alexandria Cardinals Thursday, Jan. 26.

Swimmers compete in the breast stroke.
Brainerd's Cayden Sumption competes in the 200-yard individual medley during Brainerd's meet against Alexandria on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, at Brainerd High School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Cayden Sumption wants his name on the pool record list four times.

And with the Brainerd Warriors hosting the Section 8-2A meet in a month at the new Brainerd High School Aquatic Center, that’s a realistic goal.

But first, Sumption has a goal of helping the Warriors finish the regular season unbeaten. The senior captain and the rest of the Warriors took another step to make that a reality Thursday, Jan. 26, with a 106-75 Central Lakes Conference victory over the Alexandria Cardinals.

Sumption helped Brainerd’s 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays to first place and also won the 200 individual medley with a 2:09.21.

“I always just back-half the IM,” Sumption said. “What I mean is I’m not a backstroker so my race strategy is always to hit that back half hard. I think that’s what I executed well today. I was working more on just finishing my freestyle.”


As has been the case all season, Sumption teamed with Nathan Chaussee, Mason Kuepers and Sam McCulley to post a first-place time of 1:42.5 in the medley relay. Sumption said starting out the meet with a win is a huge boost for the rest of the event.

“It just sets up a good meet,” Sumption said. “You can tell if you’re fast in that relay and you can get really confident. It’s a confidence booster and it makes everyone feel good knowing we start off the meet strong and knowing we can be fast for the day.”

Sumption teamed with Mason Kuepers, Parker Tautge and McCulley to win the 200 free. Because of a disqualification, Brainerd’s B relay of Spencer Porter, Kyler Carlson, Atreyu Marcello and Nolan Thiesse placed second.

“Cayden has worked so hard to get to where he is,” Warriors head coach John Zemke said. “From where he was two years ago to where he is now -- he’s improved so much. It’s all through his hard work, his dedication to the weight room to get stronger and just trying to get better all year round.

“He was on section teams as a freshman and sophomore, but really came on last year and has really come on again this year.”

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Sumption’s night wasn’t perfect as he finished second in the 100 breaststroke, but he’s confident that with a little rest, he’ll be ready to put his name on the pool-record list four times.

“We’ve just been going at it really hard,” Sumption said “We’ve had six meets in 13 days. We’ve had a lot of meets. I executed the race strategy well. I was working more on my pullouts, but I just didn’t have the stamina. We’re all tired. The whole team. We’re going to take a rest day and hit it hard next week. We’ll all be ready for taper and to swim fast again.”

Parker Tatge was a double winner as he captured the 200 and 500 freestyles. Logan Kuepers made the most noise of the night by racing to a second-place finish in the 500 free.
Brainerd’s divers showed off their talents with a first, third and fourth. Wyatt Gabrielson landed a first-place 281.75. He scored a 58.8 on his third dive to propel him to a 46.5-point victory. Nash Gabrielson placed third with 194.25 and David Herath was fourth with 187.25 points.


Mason Kuepers won the 50 freestyle with ease, but then switched from the 100 free to the butterfly and still won with a 52.13.

“These guys have just worked extremely hard all year,” Zemke said. “There is talent there and this is just a good bunch of guys. It’s a pleasure and a privilege just to go to practice with these guys. It’s a good group, but we have to go down and battle a very good Sauk Rapids team next week and hopefully, we can come through.”

Brainerd’s last undefeated season came in 2013-14. Last year, Brainerd lost to Alexandria in a dual, but finished first in the end-of-season conference championship while the Cardinals placed third to give Brainerd the CLC championship. This year, Brainerd hopes to take any doubt out of who the best in the conference is.

“It’s a big goal,” Sumption said. “I know last year we had a pretty bad meet at Alex, but it feels nice knowing we’re the best team in the CLC and we’re excited. Plus, sections will be a good meet.”

Brainerd 106, Alexandria 75

200 medley relay: 1-Brainerd (Nathan Chaussee, Cayden Sumption, Mason Kuepers, Sam McCulley) 1:42.5; 3-Brainerd (Alex Kuepers, Brenden Brichacek, Drew Haglin, Kyler Carlson) 1:52.16

200 freestyle: 1-Parker Tatge (Brd) 1:51.76, 3-Brooks Brichacek (Brd) 2:01.92, 4-Logan Kuepers (Brd) 2:02.86

200 individual medley: 1-Sumption 2:09.21, 3-Carlson 2:18.57, 5-Drew Haglin 2:23.84

50 freestyle: 1-Mason Kuepers 22.06, 3-Nolan Thiesse (Brd) 24.10, 4-McCulley 24.28

Diving: 1-Wyatt Gabrielson (Brd) 281.75, 3-Nash Gabrielson (Brd) 194.25, 4-David Herath (Brd) 187.25

100 butterfly: 1-Mason Kukepers 52.13, 3-Brenden Brichacek 59.26, 4-Nathan Chaussee 59.39

100 freestyle: 1-Erik Reineke (Alex) 51.38, 2-McCulley 52.29, 3-Thiesse 53.13, 4-Spencer Porter (Brd) 54.64

500 freestyle: 1-Tatge 5:05.91, 2-Logan Kuepers 5:22.77, 4-Brooks Brichacek 5:31.38

200 freestyle relay: 1-Brainerd (Mason Kuepers, McCulley, Sumption Tatge) 1:32.93; 2-Brainerd (Spencer Porter, Carlson, Atreyu Marcello, Thiesse) 1:36.62

100 backstroke: 1-Eric Peterson (Alex) 56.89, 2-Chaussee 57.91, 3-Alex Kuepers 1:03.75, 4-Weston Thiesse 1:04.82

100 breaststroke: 1-Logan Tung (Alex) 1:02.06, 2-Sumption 1:03.57, 3-Brenden Brichacek 1:07.57, 4-Carlson 1:11.67

400 freestyle relay: 1-Alexandria 3:33.02, 2-Brainerd (Tatge, Chaussee, Porter, Nolan Thiesse) 3:34.62; 3-Brainerd (Drew Haglin, Brooks Brichacek, Sam Mattson, Logan Kuepers) 3:54.83

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at .

Warriors 106, Alexandria 75

Key: Brainerd wins eight events


Conference: Brd 6-0, Alex 3-3

Overall: Brd 7-0, Alex 3-3

Next: Brainerd at Sauk Rapids 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26.

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