Boys swimming and diving: Lakers shake the rust off in dual against Lumberjacks – Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES – Tuesday night was like riding a bike for Detroit Lakes boys head swimming and diving coach Will Blasczyk. It’s a much different feeling than he had a year ago.

Two weeks before the start of the 2021-22 season, Blasczyk accepted the position as the new leader of the Laker boy swimmers. It sparked a chaotic beginning to a new gig filled with lessons and a bevy of first-time accomplishments.

A year later, Blasczyk feels like a pro.

The Detroit Lakes boys swimming and diving team cheers during the 200-yard IM in a dual against Bemidji on Dec. 20, 2022 at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center.

Jared Rubado/Detroit Lakes Tribune

“You don’t know what you don’t know. A year ago, I didn’t know anything,” Blasczyk said. “It was fun to come back to the early part of year two and have a feel for how to do this. I’ve learned a lot over the past year. It feels fun to come here, do a home meet and have an idea of what we need to do to score points by putting people in the right places. I like where we’re at right now.”

The Lakers hosted Bemijdji on Tuesday night in its first home meeting of the regular season. Disqualifications plagued Detroit Lakes in a loss against the Lumberjacks.

“Having our home crowd here played a little bit of a part today,” Blasczyk said. “We had some disqualifications that I wasn’t expecting. That comes with some jitters and some nerves. We have some young guys swimming at home for the first time. We’re still trying to perfect strokes and techniques. Even some of our veterans had some missteps. It was still a good meeting, and some really good things happened.”

Tuesday’s matchup against Bemidji was Detroit Lakes’ first dual of the regular season. After last week’s winter storm canceled a home meet with Park Rapids and Perham-New York Mills, the Lakers had plenty of rust to shake off after opening the season in Fergus Falls on Dec. 10.

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Detroit Lakes’ Zane Roberts swims the breaststroke leg of the 200-yard medley relay in a dual against Bemidji on Dec. 20, 2022 at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center.

Jared Rubado/Detroit Lakes Tribune

“The only other meeting we’ve had was a much bigger invite,” Blasczyk said. “There were five teams and a whole bunch of stuff going on. This is more intimate, and I think the officials can catch things a little closer today than they could in Fergus. It was interesting how this worked out, and it was fun. I’m glad we got our first home meet. We were hoping to give Bemidji a run for their money, and some of our guys did an excellent job.”

Despite some hiccups, Detroit Lakes collected some impressive varsity finishes from their veterans. Brian Morrison won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.46.

“Brian Morrison is a 10th grader, and he ended up winning that whole race,” Blasczyk said. “That was awesome. He was a little nervous that I ended up putting him as our No. 1 swimmer in the 50. I think that’ll pay dividends down the road for his confidence.”

One of three captains, Ryan Erickson, took first place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 52.92.

“Ryan Erickson getting under 53 (seconds) already is impressive,” Blasczyk said. “It’s early in the season, and he’s already pushing section times.”

Zane Roberts took the top spot in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:13.79. He also joined Erickson, Morrison and Micah Barberg to win the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:41.80).

“Zane Roberts’ breaststroke is looking really good,” Blasczyk said. “I know he’s been working hard on that one. He dropped time, which is always good to see. He was in our 200-free relay, too. I was pretty happy with how that finished.”

The Detroit Lakes divers continue to be a step above the rest. Lane Yliniemi (146.95), Gregory Simons (140.95) and Lucas Lundberg (133.80) claimed the top three spots.

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Detroit Lakes’ Gregory Simons prepares top dive in a dual against Bemidji on Dec. 20, 2022 at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center.

Jared Rubado/Detroit Lakes Tribune

“Bobbi (Jo Koons) is so good with them, and I know I never have to worry about our divers,” Blasczyk said. “Our diving program is leaps and bounds ahead of others in our area. I feel lucky in that way. A lot of our divers stepped up and swam big races for us too. I look at Neil Trowbridge, who’s been working on getting his conditioning up. He came all summer and swims with us once a week to make sure he keeps up with his technique.”

One of the Lakers’ most significant challenges this season is replacing John Gulon in and out of the pool. The record-holding backstroker graduated in 2022, leaving a void in more ways than one in the Detroit Lakes lineup. However, Blasczyk is impressed with how his captains, Barberg, Simons and Erickson, have taken the reins.

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Detroit Lakes’ Micah Barberg swims the freestyle leg of the 200-yard medley relay in a dual against Bemidji on Dec. 20, 2022 at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center.

Jared Rubado/Detroit Lakes Tribune

“Everybody looked up to John last year,” Blasczyk said. “He was far and away our best swimmer, but he’s soft-spoken and intense. He was still a great leader. You can’t just replace a guy like that. Now, it’s a different dynamic. We have Gregory leading the divers and Ryan and Micah feeding off each other with the swimmers. I like the dynamic because there are more people to look up to. It’s not just John and Luther (Van Offelen). I mean, we have a bunch of seventh graders, and they have a ton of good leaders to look to right now.”

DETROIT LAKES VARSITY RESULTS- 200Y MEDLEY RELAY- 2- Tony McLeod, Dominic Rootham, Neil Trowbridge, Ernie Evans 2:39.09

200Y FREE- 2- Micah Barberg 2:09.34

50Y FREE- 1- Brian Morrison 27.46, 4- Rootham 33.30, 6- Andrew Barberg 35.95

DIVING- 1- Lane Yliniemi 146.95, 2- Gregory Simons 140.95, 3- Lucas Lundberg 133.80

100Y FLY- 3- Trowbridge 1:37.56

100Y FREE- 1- Ryan Erickson 52.92, 5- McLeod 1:10.11, 6- Evans 1:21.85

500Y FREE- Carson Jensen 8:02.12

200Y FREE RELAY- 1- Erickson, Morrison, Zane Roberts, M. Barberg 1:41.80; 3- McLeod, Jensen, Trowbridge, Evans 2:14.87

100Y BREAST- 1- Roberts 1:13.79

400Y FREE RELAY- 2- M. Barberg, Roberts, Morrison, Erickson 3:56.96

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Detroit Lakes’ Lany Yliniemi prepares top dive in a dual against Bemidji on Dec. 20, 2022 at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center.

Jared Rubado/Detroit Lakes Tribune

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