Lakers swimming and diving hopes talent and depth mesh
The Detroit Lakes boys' swimming and diving team didn't only have a winning season last year, they are winning the numbers game this season.
The latter could be a significant factor in bettering their successful 2008-09 campaign, with 24 swimmers and divers out.
"That's a great number to have," said DL head coach Rian Heimark on the number of Lakers out for the team. "We even ran into a problem when we were taking our team photo, we didn't have enough warm-ups.
"That's a good problem to have."
The Lakers look to have some top-heavy talents, as well as the swimmers to fill-in the middle finishes, which are important points in a duel or large invite.
DL will both be formidable in the pool swimming and on the diving board, with state qualifiers in both areas.
Sophomore Quillan Oak is coming off a breakout season, after finishing second in the Class 1A state 100-yard breaststroke and fifth in the 200 individual medley.
Junior Jon Melgaard also medaled in his second trip to the state diving meet, taking ninth overall on the board.
"I'm expecting great things for Quillan in and out of the water," Heimark said. "Even though he's only a sophomore, he can show some great leadership abilities. Jon is also the leader of a deep diving team, which will be important to have for team points."
There will be a total of five DL divers this season, including Melgaard.
Those joining Melgaard on the diving board include the team's lone senior Pat Rethwisch, juniors Justin George, Aaron Colby and Logan Peterick.
The swimming team will be led by Oak, but there will be a host of other swimmers who will be vying for top spots, as well as secondary finishes needed to contend for team titles in invites and duels.
Sophomore Brandon Olson was just seconds away from a state berth last year in the 500 freestyle, while higher expectations are set for veterans such as sophomores Travis King, Cody Johnson, juniors Brady Eilertson, Cody Okeson and freshmen Carter Krengel and Jordan George.
There are also two new freshmen out in Brady Otto and Mike Okeson.
The team also will have up to 10 middle school swimmers competing, including seventh grader Jared Olson, who has been a competitive swimmer for several years and will see time in the varsity lineup.
"In all, we do have 12 swimmers out for the first time, so it will be a challenge to find out what events they will swim," Heimark said. "It will be a work in progress and I switch people around in different events."
With the big numbers out, that will benefit the relay teams.
"I can mix and match all season to see who fits the best with each other," the DL coach included.
The Lakers will host the True Team section and Section 3-1A meets.
Heimark is hoping to finish in the top five in each.
"We also want to go for the Mid-State championship again, since we missed out on it last year," Heimark added. "I think it's a realistic chance, without seeing the other teams in the conference."
The Lakers will open the season Saturday, Dec. 12, in Fergus Falls.
The 2009-10 Detroit Lakes boys' swimming and diving schedule:
12 at Fergus Falls
15 at Fergus Falls
18 Thief River Falls
5 at Moorhead
9 Laker Invite
12 Morris Area
15 at Bemidji
19 Park Rapids
23 Section True Team in DLCCC
26 at Bemidji
6 Park Rapids
9 at Morris
12 Mid-State at Park Rapids
18 at Thief River Falls
26-27 Section 3-1A meet in DLCCC
4-6 State meet at U of M Aquatic Center.