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Laker boys swimming and diving wrap-up

Senior Mike Okeson was a strong performer on the relay teams for the Lakers. Brian Basham/Tribune

With the departure of a significant amount of big-producing senior swimmers last season, the Detroit Lakes boys’ swimming and diving team was quickly cast under the radar.

But that was fine for a feisty Laker squad, which kept pace with the majority of teams they faced and ended the season with five swimmers in the Class 1A state meet.

The main facet which helped drive the Lakers was the development of their younger swimmers and divers. By the end of the regular season, they made the appropriate steps to make DL a very competitive team.

“If you look at the ages of our swimmers and divers in the section meet, you could tell the younger ones really stepped it up this year,” said DL head coach Rian Heimark. “There were some big shoes to fill after last year’s seniors graduated and these young swimmers and divers really filled them well.”

The Lakers depended on their two seniors in Carter Krengel and Mike Okeson, who each were solid contributors on the relay teams, as well as in individual events.

Krengel placed in each of the 50 and 100 freestyle events in sixth, while the 200-freestyle and 400-freestyle relays made the consolation finals in state.

Okeson and Krengel were on both state relay teams.

“Carter came into the season as the only one to have experience at the state meet,” Heimark said. “He knew what had to be done. He led in a silent way, since he wasn’t vocal, but he showed everyone as a junior and senior that he could swim very fast.”

Okeson was also a key on all three relay events and that is why Heimark put him on in every one.

Although the Lakers may not have that elite racer next season, it does not mean they will not be any top-level competitors.

Juniors Isaac Clem and Austin McCullough and sophomore Jared Olson, each made their state debuts swimming on the relay events, but will be looked upon as individual performers, as well.

“They are stepping into leadership roles now and I’m also seeing many of the boys wanting a spot on the relay teams,” Heimark said.

The Laker divers also were young, but showed vast improvement.

Eighth grader Zane Freeman led the way, with junior Jacob Kempenich recovering from an injury and contributing on the board.

Seventh grader Austin Gedrose also shined as a first-year diver.

“We’ll also see both Austin and Zane in swimming events,” Heimark added.

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