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Lakers ready for section challenge

This Friday and Saturday will be the two days the Detroit Lakes boys' swimming and diving team has been working for since the opening day of practice Nov. 28.

The Lakers will be taking to the section waters in Hutchinson, starting Friday in the preliminaries and hopefully working their way to Saturday's finals.

And it's a realistic goal for several of the Lakers to take that next vaunted step to the state meet.

DL had some foreign flavor this season, as German foreign exchange student Henrik Bewarder made the most out of his time swimming for the Lakers. He holds four DLHS records, two Mid-State Conference records and four pool records.

Next up is the sections.

"He has a quality shot to win the section in each of his two individual events (200 and 500 freestyle)," said DL head coach Mike Daly. "He also has a very good chance to be in the top eight in the state, as well."

Bewarder will also help two relay teams gain entrance to the state meet. The 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams have solid opportunities to make the state cut times.

Along with Bewarder in the 200 and 400 relays will be senior Nathan Buelow, Luke Pechmann and Sam Branstad, who will be a key for each team, Daly said.

"Our 400 relay is our strongest, with Henrik being solid in it and Nathan Buelow and Luke Pechmann each swimming 52 (second) splits, which is important," Daly said. "If Sam Branstad can drop some quality time, this should be one of our fastest 400 teams we've had."

Buelow will be racing in each of the 50 and 100 freestyle events, after competing in the section last year in the butterfly.

"Nathan needs to have a good mental outlook during the sections, because he has the physical tools to make the state cut," Daly said. "He needs to be fired up for it."

The sophomore Pechmann is looking to peak at the right time in both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.

"With a very good day (in which) he meets or beats his season best times, Luke should have a good shot at state," the DL coach added.

With DL being such a young and inexperienced team, the section meet will be a maturing process for the majority of Laker swimmers and divers. Seventh grader Jon Melgaard -- who has set numerous DL Middle School diving records this year -- will be competing in his first section meet.

Some of the other swimmers have section experience from last year, but not in their strongest events.

"I would like to see the younger swimmers improve on their times and for many of them, they are swimming their best events in section this year," Daly stated.

The Section 3-1A swimming and diving championships will start Friday and conclude Saturday in Hutchinson. Favorites to win the team title include Fergus Falls, Montevideo and Hutchinson.

There will be 14 teams competing in the section.

Laker results

Detroit Lakes boys' swimming and diving lineup for the Section meet in Hutchinson Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25.

Henrik Bewarder: 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay...Michael Bogda: 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay (alternate), 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 400 freestyle relay (alternate)...Sam Branstad: 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay...Nathan Buelow: 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay...Jon Melgaard: 200 medley relay, 1-meter diving...Luke Pechmann: 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle relay, 100 backstroke, 400 freestyle relay...Ben VanOfflen: 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle, 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay (alternate), 400 freestyle relay (alternate)...Matt Weiss: 200 medley relay, 200 individual medley, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay (alternate), 400 freestyle relay (alternate).

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