CLC battle is for 2nd place
WILLMAR -- There is little chance that the Brainerd speedboat will capsize today as it slices through the waters at the Central Lakes Swimming and Diving championships.
But in the Warriors' wake, it should be quite a race for second.
Behind Brainerd, which finished 8-0 in CLC duals this season, Alexandria, Sartell and Willmar all finished 6-2.
Scoring out the meet based on seeding, Willmar coach Carl Shuldes said it's a "virtual dead heat" behind Brainerd.
Brainerd, propelled by 18 seniors, seeds at over 600 points with Willmar, Alexandria and Sartell between 302 and 330.
Willmar beat Alexandria and lost at Sartell.
Willmar's highest seeds are seniors Andy Johnson and Steve Kluver. The latter is first in both the 50 freestyle (22.62) and 100 backstroke (56.74). Johnson is second in the 200 free (1:52.35) and fourth in the 500 (5:24.56).
Kyle Rozendaal is fourth in the backstroke (58.20). The three relays stack up either third or fourth.
Shuldes said this team has been a surprise.
"I knew we'd be OK at the top with Johnson, Kluver, (Ben) Saint and Kyle Schmidt. But I couldn't have predicted that the younger swimmers would make so much improvement."
He mentioned Rozendaal, Mason Kluver, Robert Brau, A.J. Derouin, Michael McLain, Dempsey Schroeder and Ross Swartz as swimmers who "have gotten so much better" during the season.
Freshman diver Bennet Woltjer, who stands fifth after eight dives, has also made big gains, Shuldes noted, despite the diving-coach position remaining vacant.
The meet starts at noon.