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Laker swimmers send relay team and two individuals to state

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Detroit Lakes sophomore Quillan Oak had a bit of a bittersweet surprise when he was preparing for the Section 3-1A meet, held inside the BTD Aquatics Center last Friday and Saturday.

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After finishing as the Class 1A state runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke to Fergus Falls' Mike Hurley last year, Oak will not have a chance for a rematch after the Otter -- who is in Section 3-1A as well -- opted for the butterfly instead this year.

"I was kind of happy, because I won't see him in state, but I also wanted to race him again," Oak said.

Oak will also be competing in the 200 individual medley at state, after he finished second to Hurley in sections with a 2:02.12 time.

But as far as the 100 breaststroke goes, Oak will be pursuing it with a ferocious tenacity.

"I'm going to go hard and all out," Oak said. "I'm just going to go out with a sort of controlled insanity."

Oak could be the first native Laker to win a boys' swimming state championship.

Foreign exchange student Henrik Bewarder won the 500-freestyle in the 2005-06 season, as well as placing second in the 200-freestyle.

"That would be really cool," Oak said of the possibility of becoming the first native DL swimmer to win gold.

Oak would also like to improve on his 200 IM state finish from a year ago, when he came in fifth with a time of 2:02.

"With no Hurley in the mix, we have high hopes for Quillan," said DL head coach Rian Heimark. "He's sitting as the No. 4 seed now, which is a perfect spot for him."

Brandon Olson had to overcome the disappointment of missing state in the 200-freestyle by .09 of a second, but rebounded well by taking third and beating the state-cut time in the 500 freestyle with his mark of 5:07.46.

Olson cut a full six seconds off his personal-best mark.

"I was pretty psyched up before the 500 race, I just wanted to make it to state," Olson said. "I was really happy and looked up at the scoreboard. I only could just smile."

Heimark was more than pleased with his 500 swimmer.

"Brandon had a phenomenal race and to drop that much time," Heimark said. "He basically dropped a full second in each of his 50's."

The 200-yard medley relay team of Travis King (backstroke), Oak (breast), Cody Okeson (butterfly) and Olson (freestyle) made the state cut after they raced for a 1:46.35 time.

"We were aiming for the state cut time, (from) which we were about four seconds off (before the section meet)," Okeson said.

The foursome made the state cut in the preliminaries, but had to repeat the feat in the finals to make state.

"We just wanted to be really careful in the finals," Oak said. "We were all pretty nervous and just wanted some safe starts."

The Class 1A meet will start at noon each day inside the University of Minnesota's Aquatic Center, Thursday through Saturday.

"Overall, all of our swimmers dropped time in the sections," Heimark said. "And this year was a very fast section."

Laker results

Section 3-1A meet in Detroit Lakes, BTD Aquatics Center, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 26-27.

Team results --  Fergus Falls 304, Melrose/Sauk Centre 267, Bemidji 256, Hutchinson 250.5, Willmar 233, Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield 187.5, Detroit Lakes 178, Montevideo 171, Thief River Falls 109, Perham 88, Rocori 87, Minnewaska 72, Park Rapids 67.

DL event results (*state qualifiers) -- 200 medley relay: *5. DL A 146.35...200 freestyle: 6. Brandon Olson 1:53.40; 17. Travis King 1:59.94; 26. Carter Krengel 2:04.04...200 IM: *2. Quillan Oak 2:02.12; 22. Cody Johnson 2:26.43; 24. Jared Olson 2:27.14...50 freestyle: 20. Cody Okeson 24.63; 28. Brady Eilertson 25.35...Diving: *1. Jon Melgaard 351.85; *4. Justin George 270.0; 13. Pat Rethwisch 221.65; 17. Aaron Colby 157.70...100 butterfly: 26. Jared Olson 1:08.86; 31. Mike Okeson 1:24.39...100 freestyle: 21. C. Okeson 53.94; 30. Krengel 56.04; 34. Eilertson 57.07...500 freestyle: *3. B. Olson 5:07.46; 38. Brady Otto 6:12.97...200 freestyle relay: 13. DL A (Melgaard, C. Johnson, Eilertson, Krengel) 1:43.42...100 backstroke: 9. King 1:02.42; 28. A. Colby 1:12.49...100 breaststroke: *1. Oak 1:02.46; 13. C. Johnson 1:09.15; 27. Melgaard 1:15.51...400 freestyle relay: 7. DL A (C. Okeson, B. Olson, King, Oak) 3:31.78.

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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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