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State Swim Preview: DL will take part in 4 state events

The Detroit Lakes state swimmers include (L to R) Mike Okeson, Austin McCullough, Carter Krengel, Jared Olson and Isaac Clem. Brian Wierima/Tribune

The Detroit Lakes boys' swimming and diving team will have solid representation at the Class 1A state meet Friday and Saturday inside the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.

Senior Carter Krengel filled his bill by qualifying for state in all four of his events, while DL will also have a pair of relay teams in the 200 and 400 freestyle events.

Overall, it was a good showing for the Lakers during the Section 5-1A meet, with DL scoring points in every event for the first time in the program's history.

"Of our 11 section qualifiers, we had nine make it to the finals Saturday," said DL head coach Rian Heimark. "That's a great number to return for the finals."

There were several events where the Lakers had near-misses in qualifying for the state meet, but Krengel wasn't one of those.

He will make his return trip to the state meet in each of the 50 and 100 freestyle races, while being the anchor in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relay events as well.

It's not a surprising notion that Krengel will have a full slate Friday and (hopefully) Saturday, since he wasn't even tapered for the section meet, which was held in Bemidji Friday and Saturday.

"I didn't have any big goals heading into section, just to make sure I qualify for state in my events," Krengel said. "It will be an advantage to taper (the week during the state meet), too."

Krengel won the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.78, while finishing second in the 100 freestyle with a 49.00 flat time.

Fergus Falls junior Cal Mouristen won with a mark of 48.35.

"(Mouristen) was wearing his (texture) suit and I wasn't even tapered, so I was shooting to just qualifying for state," Krengel said. "In the 50, I dropped more time and now would like to shoot for the low 22's now."

Krengel's expectations for state are tempered, but his experience already racing in the big meet and his strong senior season should raise the bar for the sprinter.

"I'm expecting some good things from Carter at state," Heimark said. "His goal at sections was to just make it to state. His 49.00 in the 100 is his season best, so he still can improve on that and get a nice placing at state."

The grand goal of the Lakers was to qualify all three relay teams for state Saturday in Bemidji, but the 200 medley relay foursome of Jared Olson, Michael Richter, senior Mike Okeson and Austin McCullough came up just .32 of a second short of the state cut time.

Olson also was a shave away from making state in the 100 backstroke, by .01 of a second, and was just within .40 of a second from advancing in the 200 IM.

But Olson's times were personal best marks, Heimark noted.

"He was all smiles after," Heimark said. "I'm sure he was disappointed, but he did the best he could."

The 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams would not be denied, however as the former finished third with a time of 1:32.40 and the latter second at 3:24.71.

Extra gravy was added for the 200 team of Isaac Clem, Okeson, Austin McCullough and Krengel after they set a new DLHS record with their 1:32.40.

"I really wanted all three relays to go, but we came up just shy in the 200 medley," Okeson said. "But we really came back strong in the final two."

For Okeson, it's extra sweet that he's on two relay state teams, after being an alternate on state relay squads the last three years.

"I'm just looking forward to actually swimming in state," Okeson said. "I've been working hard to get my shot. Breaking the record in the 200 freestyle wasn't even on my mind either, it was all about getting to state.

"So after I looked up and saw we broke, that was extra special."

The Lakers also have a bright future in diving, after eighth grader Zane Freeman finished sixth overall in the section with a 311.55 and junior Jacob Kempenich was seventh at 268.75.

The section meet was a good top-off to a season where question marks abounded, with plenty of young swimmers and divers needing to contribute.

"It was good to be able to come in and lead the younger guys, it was a great experience and one which made me a better swimmer," said Okeson, who was one of two senior captains, along with Krengel.

The state swimming preliminaries will be Friday at noon and the finals Saturday at the same time.

Laker results

Section 5-1A meet in Bemidji, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 22-23.

Team results: Alexandria 450.5, Fergus Falls 360, Park Rapids 313, Bemidji 279, Detroit Lakes 276.5, Perham 194, Thief River Falls 132, Morris 21.

DL finals results (*state qualifier) - 200 medley relay: 4. DL (Jared Olson, Michael Richter, Mike Okeson, McCullough) 1:45.74...200 freestyle: 10. Caleb Howard 2:01.69...200 individual medley: 5. Olson 2:09.98...50 freestyle: *1. Carter Krengel 22.78; 6. Isaac Clem 23.62; 7. Austin McCullough 24.08...Diving: 6. Zane Freeman 311.55; 7. Jacob Kempenich 268.75; 10. Andrew Holzgrove 245.75; 14. Austin Gedrose 209.40...100 butterfly: 7. Okeson 1:00.30; 11. Richter 1:03.71...100 freestyle: *2. Krengel 49.00; 10. Clem 52.25; 12. A. McCullough 53.41...500 freestyle: 16. Spencer Heimark 6:20.26...200 freestyle relay: *3. DL (Clem, Okeson, A. McCullough, Krengel) 1:32.40...100 backstroke: 4. Olson 58.42; 12. Howard 1:05.84...100 breaststroke: 8. Richter 1:11.55; 16. Austin Nelson 1:17.04...400 freestyle relay: *2. DL (Clem, Okeson, Olson, Krengel) 3:24.71.

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