The goal was to get all four Brainerd Warriors into Saturday's swimming final and that's what happened.

Brainerd's 200-yard freestyle relay of Tristan Dawson, Andy Dillon, Griffin Blegen and Connor Lund bettered its Section 8-2A winning time to place 14th in the Class 2A State swimming prelims Friday, March 1, at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

The Warriors swam a 1:29.98 at St. Cloud Tech last week to advance to state and then swam a 1:28.96 to advance to the consolation finals Saturday.

"They dropped over a second, which is tremendous," Brainerd head coach John Zemke said. "We had four lifetime best splits. From the first guy to the last guy their exchanges were very, very good. They really put together a fantastic race.

---   ---   ---   ---   ---

State Swim Prelims

  • Relay: Advances to Saturday with a 14th-place time
  • Individual: Tristan Dawson advances to Saturday in backstroke
  • Next: Class 2A State Finals at University of Minnesota 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2

---   ---   ---   ---   ---

"The whole goal was to make it to the second day and that's what they did. Every guy is going to swim again tomorrow."

Dawson was the lone individual to advance to Saturday as he cruised to a 12th-place finish in the 100 backstroke. In the process he broke Brainerd's school record with his 53.29.

"He had a great swim," Zemke said. "It was a school record. He beat Preston Owen's school record by a 10th of a second. Just had a great start and great turns. He was able to use his underwater strengths that we were talking about the other day. He was able to use the deeper water and just had a great swim.

"He dropped more time than any other guy in the field and swam a great race. Twelve is a great spot to be in after being seeded 17th coming in."

Dillon improved one seed spot in the 200 individual medley, but missed his time goal with a 2:01.02.

Blegen placed 19th in the 50 freestyle with a 22.33.

"Andy Dillon was hoping to go under two minutes and didn't quite make it," Zemke said. "He ended up at 2:01. He was a little disappointed, but it didn't take him long to start gearing up for that 200 free relay.

"Griffin went two-tenths slower and didn't qualify for Saturday's consolations."

That will push the focus for three of the four solely to the relay, which Zemke hopes will translate into more time being dropped.

"We're just going to try and nail those exchanges again and maybe Andy not having the 200 IM before might help," Zemke said. "If we can shave some more time and maybe move up a little bit that would be a tremendous way to finish things out."


Prelim results

200 individual medley: 1-Hayden Zheng (St Louis Park) 1:49.42, 23-Andy Dillon (Brd) 2:01.02

50 freestyle: 1-Peter Larson (Edina), 19-Griffin Blegen (Brd) 22.33

200 freestyle relay: 1-Edina 1:24.32, 14-Brainerd (Tristan Dawson, Andy Dillon, Griffin Blegen, Connor Lund) 1:28.96

100 backstroke: 1-Sam Kennedy (Wayzata) 49.08, 12-Tristan Dawson (Brd) 53.29