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DL tankers primed for Mid-State

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The Detroit Lakes boys' swimming and diving squad may be half the team Park Rapids and Perham are, number-wise -- but that can't be said talent-wise.

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As has been the norm all season, the small Laker team finished high in several events during the four-team Park Rapids Invitational Saturday, but depth became an issue. The Lakers finished third with 412 points, with their chances hurt by the meet's scoring format, in which it scored four swimmers per event.

DL could only afford to compete with two swimmers for the majority of the events.

That didn't stop the Lakers from winning six events in the meet, which is a precursor to the Mid-State Conference meet Friday in Park Rapids, since all three teams were at the Panthers' invite Saturday.

"The Mid-State will be very different, because we only score two swimmers per event," said DL head coach Mike Daly. "After (estimating) scores and times from each team, we still will have to have one of our best meets (of the season) to win Mid-State."

The Lakers have claimed 14 of the last 16 Mid-State championships since 1990, losing out only twice, in 2001 and 2002. This year, DL will have to work as hard as ever for the conference banner.

"We have five swimmers seeded in last place in their events, so if they can move up from that, that could more than double their points," Daly said. "Even if they do that, it still will come down to a number of things."

The Lakers have a couple of factors going their way. Henrik Bewarder will enter as one of the conference's strongest swimmers, after he won the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle Saturday. In each race, he set a meet record, with the 200 IM mark having been held since 1992 and the 500 since 1985.

Bewarder notched a 2:03.70 in the 200 IM, and raced for a 4:57.29 in the 500. He also was a part of the first-place 400 freestyle relay foursome -- including Nathan Buelow, Sam Branstad and Luke Pechmann -- which finished with a 3:37.81.

Buelow had a solid meet, winning the 50 freestyle with a 23.95 time and the 100 freestyle at 52.85.

Sophomore Luke Pechmann completed the Laker winning ways, with a first in the 100 backstroke at 1:00.48.

Seventh grader Jon Melgaard finished in third in diving with a score of 250.25, behind Perham's Matt Lalli with a 292.10.

Daly will try to gain more points in the Mid-State by spreading out his swimmers in the relays, hopefully gaining two high spots instead of one. In the end, though, the Lakers will be depending on their more inexperienced swimmers to get the ever-valuable secondary points behind the first place finishes DL is favored to gain.

"It would be nice to put the pressure on the older guys, but we have to put it on the younger guys and that does scare me, because you don't know how they will react in that situation," Daly said. "Depth will be an issue."

The Mid-State meet will begin at 6 p.m. in Park Rapids Friday.

Laker results

Detroit Lakes at the Park Rapids Invitational, Saturday, Feb. 4.

Team results: Park Rapids 585, Perham 522, Detroit lakes 412, Morris/Minnewaska 380.

DL individual results -- 200-yard medley relay: 2. DL A (Henrik Bewarder, Shane Wyborny, Luke Pechmann, Matt Weiss) 1:54.22...200 freestyle: 2. Weiss 2:09.85; 3. Sam Branstad 2:12.35; 6. Michael Bogda 2:15.07...200 individual medley: 1. Bewarder 2:03.70; 10. Ben VanOfflen 2:52.47...50 freestyle: 1. Nathan Buelow 23.95; 6. Wyborny 27.22...Diving: 3. Jon Melgaard 250.25...100 butterfly: 2. Pechmann 1:01.00; 9. Brian Alexander 1:37.57...100 freestyle: 1. Buelow 52.85; 3. Branstad 58.00...500 freestyle: 1. Bewarder 4:57.29; 5. Weiss 6:06.39; 10. VanOfflen 6:43.32...200 freestyle relay: 2. DL A (Buelow, Bogda, Wyborny, Branstad) 1:44.48...100 backstroke: 1. Pechmann 1:00.48; 7. Bogda 1:13.41; 12. Alexander 1:25.59...100 breaststroke: 5. Wyborny 1:18.86; 13. Melgaard 1:47.50...400 freestyle relay: 1. DL A (Buelow, Branstad, Pechmann, Bewarder) 3:37.81; 7. DL B (Alexander, Bogda, VanOfflen, Weiss) 4:25.77.

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Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN. 
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