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Blasczyk takes over promising Detroit Lakes boys swimming and diving team

Season preview for the Detroit Lakes swimming and diving team. Lakers look to lean on their senior captain and young guns this winter.

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Junior John Gulon had a fifth place backstroke finish battling a recovery from COVID and missing time late in the season to come within 0.69 seconds of a state qualifying swim at the Section 5A Championships in Morris Saturday, March 13, 2021. Vance Carlson / Forum News Service

After the first week of boys swimming and diving practice, Will Blasczyk loved what he saw from his team. He has a mix of old and new faces that he hopes can get better each day in the process of reaching the ultimate goal: get to state.

Blasczyk is the new head coach of the Lakers this winter, and excitement around the team is through the roof. After a bizarre 2021-22 season, the boys are just happy to get back to normal.

"It's nice to have such a good bunch of guys to work with," Blasczyk said. "They are nice, hard-working and impressive. I like how they are balanced, and they are coming into the season understanding their role on the team and how they can improve individually. I think everyone is just happy to be in the water again. We have some new people on the team, and they are already fitting in nicely. Some brand new divers, just testing the waters, have already learned reverse flips in a few days."

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Freshman Ryan Erickson was one of two Laker swimmers to pick up individual victories Friday night against Morris Area. Robert Williams / Tribune

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Senior John Gulon is the guy the Lakers will lean on this season to put up monster times.

"Our senior captain, John Gulon, will be one to watch," Blasczyk said. "He's as tall as LeBron James and swims like a killer whale. No joke, he can get all the way down the pool in only three strokes of butterfly."

The Lakers will need contributions from all of their returning swimmers from last year. Blasczyk pointed to a pair of sophomores that he hopes can build on what they did last season.

"We have plenty of guys returning, even in younger grades," he said. "Micah Barberg and Ryan Erickson, for example, are great leaders already, and they are in 10th grade. I'm excited to see what they can do."

In the fall, the girls swimming and diving team had some underclassmen newcomers that broke onto the scene. Blasczyk has his eyes on one eighth-grader that could make an impact at the varsity level this winter.

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Micah Barberg swims to a runner-up finish in the 100-backstroke Tuesday night in a dual against Perham-New York Mills at the DLCCC. Robert Williams / Tribune

"Watch out for Zane Roberts," he said. "He's in eighth grade, but he doesn't swim like it. He can keep up with the big boys."

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One of the keys for the Lakers will be keeping a level head through some ups and downs this season. There will likely be some growing pains, but Blasczyk hopes that won't stop some of his athletes from qualifying for state.

"I'm hoping this team can keep its positive attitude and energy up all season," Blasczyk said. "It's fun to watch. I think that energy is seeping out into the rest of the school because our numbers are up from recent years. We have 15 guys, and even the newcomers are finding ways to contribute. My general goals are for everyone to get better every day, achieve new personal bests and finish hard. From what I've seen, the guys are willing to work to achieve all of these, so our more specific goals of having swimmers qualify for state will seem within reach."

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