It was a birds-eye view right out of the gate for the Brainerd Warriors.
In the season-opener for both the Warriors and the St. Cloud Tech/Cathedral/Rocori Tigers Thursday, Jan. 21, at Brainerd High School, Tech’s Chris Morris put on a clinic and showed who the top dog in the Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-2A will be.
Morris, who swam competitively on club teams until this season, broke Brainerd pool records in the 100-yard butterfly and the backstroke and helped Tech to victories in the medley and 400 free relay.
While Morris was the star of the meet, Tech showed depth too, by winning all but one event. That victory was claimed by Cade Rosenwald with his top time in the 200 individual medley at 2:15.09.
“It was a little rough,” Rosenwald said. “I haven’t swam in 11 months so it’s tough to get back into the water after a long break. It is what it is and you have to work hard.
“I didn’t really do that much over the summer besides work to get gas money basically. I have no endurance, right. Just top speed.”
Morris shattered the old butterfly pool record of 53.32 set in 2011 with his 51.46. Morris later destroyed the old backstroke record of 54.40 set in 2003 with his time of 52.88.
“We don’t see swimmers like that,” Warriors head coach John Zemke said. “I think in my 24 years of high school swimming maybe the Hurley swimmer from Fergus was a legit Division 1, of course, Jared (Anderson) was, but this kid is the real deal. He’s got every stroke and quite frankly it’s just really fun to watch. We don’t have anybody who can swim with him.
“They’re whole team is deep. We only won one event, but our kids swam well and they performed well and we’ll just get back at it tomorrow.”
Tristan Dawson was second in the backstroke and third in the butterfly. The senior captain was also paired with Miller in both relays and both resulted in Warrior runner-up finishes. The best battle came in the 400 free relay where Rosenwald, Thomas Ruhl and Dawson built a sizable lead for Mason Kuepers. The sophomore battled as best he could against Morris, who anchored for the Tigers. Kuepers managed to stay with Morris till the end, resulting in a 3:25.81 to 3:26.44 Tiger win.
“He’s a sophomore and our time up there is really good for this time of year and our medley was good,” Zemke said. “We had some bright spots. We have some holes where we can move some guys around, but it’s the first meet and overall it was good. You always want to win, but at the same token you aren’t going to beat that team when you only win one event.”
Rosenwald said the pressure was on to perform in the 400. He said it was an angry performance.
“We’ve always beat this team in the past,” Rosenwald said. “It’s something we do every year, but they got a really good swimmer, which we saw. They have some other good swimmers too, like Tom Hoffmann, who is also fast so it was pretty challenging.”
In his individual events, Kuepers posted two second-place finishes in the 200 and 500 freestyles and was on the medley relay.
Baden Bastien was right behind Kuepers in the 200 free and scored a fourth-place finish in the 500 free.
“Cade looked good in the IM, but he’ll be the first to tell you he should be faster,” Zemke said. “He should really be in the 2:07-2:08 range right now, but it was a good, confident start. He’s got some things he needs to polish up for that race and he knows it. He swam a much better opening leg in the 400 free than he did in the open 100 free. He’s just trying to get back into it. We haven’t really raced since last march.
“The racing part takes a little while to adjust to so we have one meet under us and we’ll draw up another lineup for next week and go from there.”
Ruhl scored a second in the 100 freestyle followed by Rosenwald in third.
“Getting this meet in is very important because it sets the tone for the rest of the year,” Rosenwald said. “It might have been a rough meet, but it’s been 11 months for all of us. With these times that we’re pulling out — and it’s just top speed — once we get endurance it will be great.”
SEASON PREVIEW: Swimming and diving: Talent abounds for Warriors
St. Cloud Tech 105, Warriors 81
200 medley relay: 1-St. Cloud Tech 1:41.36; 2-Brainerd (Tristan Dawson, Cayden Sumption, Cade Rosenwald, Mason Kuepers) 1:44.95; 4-Brainerd (Lance Zemke, Branden Brichacek, Nate Chausse, David Rollins) 2:00.94
200 freestyle: 1-Tom Hoffmann (SCT) 1:51.34, 2-Mason Kuepers (Brd) 1:52.88, 3-Baden Bastien (Brd) 2:02.40, 5-Nolan Thiesse (Brd) 2:06.35
200 individual medley: 1-Rosenwald 2:15.09, 3-Sumption 2:20.84. 5-Chausse 2:40.29
50 freestyle: 1-Carsten Reuter (SCT) 22.82, 2-Ruhl 23.17, 4-Sam McCulley (Brd) 26.08, 5-Rollins 26.26
Diving: 1-Braden Lemke (SCT) 257.55, 3-Jalen Emslander (Brd) 167.35, 4-David Rollins (Brd) 163.65, 5-Wyatt Gabrielson (Brd) 124.85
100 butterfly: 1-Chris Morris (SCT) 51.46, 3-Dawson 59.42, 4-Zemke 1:04.42, 6-Brichacek 1:11.76
100 freestyle: 1-Reuter (SCT) 50.01, 2-Ruhl 52.68, 3-Rosenwald 54.99, 4-McCulley 57.33
500 freestyle: 1-Hoffmann (SCT) 5:11.88, 2-Kuepers 5:13.98, 4-Bastien 5:50.36, 5-Thiesse 5:54.63
200 freestyle relay: 1-St. Cloud Tech 1:37.84; 2-Brainerd (Rollins, Chausse, Brichacek, Thiesse) 1:38.54; 3-Brainerd (Sumption, McCulley, Bastien, Ruhl) 1:48.70
100 backstroke: 1-Morris (SCT) 52.88, 2-Dawson 57.73, 4-Zemke 1:04.42, 5-Alex Kuepers (Brd) 1:14.14
100 breaststroke: 1-Simon Davis (SCT) 1:09.35, 3-Sumption 1:12.26, 4-Brichacek 1:18.07, 5-Chaussee 1:18.34
400 freestyle relay: 1-St. Cloud Tech 3:25.81; 2-Brainerd (Rosenwald, Ruhl, Dawson, Kuepers) 3:26.44; Brainerd (Bastien, Thiese, Zemke, McCulley) 3:49.03
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
St. Cloud Tech 105, Warriors 81
Key: Tech won all but one event and broke two pool records
Conference: Brd 0-1, SCT 1-0
Overall: Brd 0-1, SCT 1-0
Next: Brainerd at Willmar 6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 26.