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DL tankers to have four at state meet

And the records keep coming.

Detroit Lakes' German foreign exchange student, Henrik Bewarder, has as many records as Metallica over the course of the 2005-06 season, and his latest is platinum.

After setting four DLHS records, two Mid-State Conference marks and numerous pool records, Bewarder shattered the Section 3-1A 500-yard freestyle mark with his 4:51.47 time.

The previous record was set last year by Kyle Eckhoff of Willmar, who had a 4:57.48.

"I was just trying to go out and win my events and qualify for state," Bewarder said. "I wasn't really going for any records."

Bewarder will join three Laker teammates for the Class 1A state boys' swimming and diving meet, which takes place Thursday-Saturday inside the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.

The German swimmer will also compete on the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams, along with senior Nathan Buelow, sophomore Luke Pechmann and junior Sam Branstad.

Bewarder and Pechmann each have earned berths in two individual events as well. Bewarder won the 200 freestyle event with a 1:45.30 time.

Pechmann earned his state berths in the 100 butterfly by taking third (top four go to state) with a 56.82 time, and in the 100 backstroke with a fourth-place finish and a 1:00.06 mark -- the second fastest time in DLHS history.

The 200 freestyle relay team finished third and topped the state cut time, swimming for a 1:33.19. The 400 relay squad finished with a mark of 3:26.68, which was good for fourth and a state-cut time.

"Each of the relays dropped time, and both the 200 and 400 are equal," said DL head coach Mike Daly. "Sam Branstad dropped two seconds alone in the 400, and Nathan Buelow dropped 1.5 seconds in the 400. Henrik's 46.89 was by far the fastest in the section, he was just cruising."

Bewarder has a realistic chance to become the first DL swimmer to ever win a state championship. His section times are among the fastest in the state, with his 500 mark the fastest at the state meet and his 200 the second quickest.

The highest place a DL swimmer has finished at state was in seventh, when Kirby Kohler and Brian Kuehne did it in back-to-back years, 1991-92, in the 100 backstrokes.

Bewarder feels he can improve on his section times, simply by the competition pushing him.

"It's been hard this season getting good times, because there hasn't been much competition," said Bewarder, who has competed in National events in Germany. "I got kind of lazy in the 500 because I was so far ahead in the races.

"It's much easier to swim when it's a close race, and it will come down to the wire at state."

Daly is confident Bewarder will be a top contender, as well.

"He is capable of winning, but I would be very happy with a top three finish," Daly said.

Pechmann has also seen some top competition af,ter swimming in some National events as a Sunfish swimmer. He will look to make the finals (top 16) and go from there.

"I can improve on my times by improving on the technical aspects, like my turns, and having a better start," said Pechmann, who is the second-youngest Laker to make state, with Kohler being the youngest as an eighth grader.

Pechmann's events are jammed together in the second half of the meet, with all four of his competitions quite close to each other.

"That will be a challenge," Pechmann said of the proximity of each event.

"He could get tired for his last couple of events, he will be pushing his physical limits," Daly said.

Buelow is ending his Laker career in state, with his first trip to the grandest meet of the year. He will be racing in each of the relay events.

"It will be pretty intense," Buelow said. "We were pretty confident we would qualify both (the 200 and 400 relays) after seeing the competition in the section True Team meet. Our chemistry is solid."

Buelow would like to see the DLHS 400 relay record fall at state and for the team to place in the top eight.

"It's very realistic we can do that," he added.

Branstad, who had the most improvement in each of the relays, said each team can make some noise at state.

"We are confident and our chemistry is good," he stated.

The Lakers will compete in the preliminaries Friday at noon at the U of M Aquatics Center. The finals will be at noon Saturday.

Laker results

Section 3-1A swimming and diving championships, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25.

Team results: Montevideo 377, Fergus Falls 366, Sartell 319, Sauk Rapids-Rice 189, Melrose/Sauk Centre 184, Detroit Lakes 164, Hutchinson 147, Willmar 143, Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield 125, Rocori 99, Perham 81, Minnewaska/Morris 47.

DL individual results (*state qualifier) -- 200 medley relay: 12. DL A (Ben VanOfflen, Michael Bogda, Matt Weiss, Jon Melgaard) 2:19.25...200 freestyle: *1. Henrik Bewarder 1:45.30...50 freestyle: 8. Nathan Buelow 23.95...Diving: 11. Melgaard 257.05...100 butterfly: *3. Luke Pechmann 56.82...100 freestyle: 13. Buelow 53.00...500 freestyle: *1. Bewarder 4:51.47 (section record)...200 freestyle relay: *3. DL A (Pechmann, Sam Branstad, Buelow, Bewarder) 1:33.19...100 backstroke: *4. Pechmann 1:00.06...400 freestyle relay: *4. DL A (Buelow, Branstad, Pechmann, Bewarder) 3:26.68.

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