Swimming: Packers are stepping up as a team

Published 5:49 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Austin boys swimming and diving team has had a solid season and it is set to host the Big Nine meet next weekend. From left: Carson Hackel, Chris Brown, Nick Brehmer, Alex Laury and Sam Deyo. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

When the Packers competed in the Class ‘A’ ‘true team’ state swimming and diving meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis this past weekend, they weren’t just making school history.

They were also establishing how far the team has come this year.

The Packers, who competed in their first ‘true team’ state meet since the meet began 12 years ago, are having one of their better seasons in recent years.

Email newsletter signup

Austin senior Nick Brehmer, who is a three-time state qualifier, said he’s had much more fun this year as the team has become much more competitive.

“For the first five years we were going 1-8 or 2-7 and you kind of looked at like an individual sport,” Brehmer said. “This year it’s fun to actually keep track of team scores and we’re competing in invites every time.”

The Packers have just five seniors on the team, so a bulk of the work has gone to underclassmen. Austin has made up a lot of points this season by getting strong performances from it’s ‘B’ and ‘C’ relay teams.

“One of the biggest things that helps us is the younger kids. They take a lot of second places and that’s huge,” Austin senior swimmer Chris Brown said. “We also won our first four duals and that gave us a lot of confidence.”

Austin is currently 6-2 overall in the Big Nine and the team is hoping for a top-three finish when it hosts the Big Nine meet next Friday and Saturday. The Packers have already hosted their annual invite and the Section 1A ‘true team’ meet and they’re happy to have another big meet in Ellis Middle School.

“It makes a big difference to know the walls and everything. Every pool has a different feel,” Austin senior swimmer Carson Hackel said.

While the Packers aren’t likely to catch Rochester Century for the conference crown, they do have their eyes on catching up to Rochester John Marshall in a battle for second.

“We were close to John Marshall this year,” Hackel said. “We could’ve had them that in our dual and it could’ve gone either way. Hopefully we’ll get to them (Saturday).”

Austin senior Alex Laury, who swims the 100-yard breaststroke, said the team has developed a big meet mentality this season and tough competition brings the best out of them.

“When we’re really under pressure, the team seems to step up to the best of our ability,” he said.

No matter how the Packers finish as a team, at the very least they’ll all be able to say they competed at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Senior diver Sam Deyo said that is an experience he’ll look back upon fondly.

“It was incredible and exhilarating. It’s a lot of fun to share that experience with your teammates and it was really nice to be in a quality pool,” Deyo said. “It’s good to know that everybody’s important to the team and they’re all a key to the team success.”


The Packers are having their best season in years in the pool. Austin finished eighth in the ‘true team’ state meet, took second at the Section 1A ‘true team meet, took first at the four-team Red Wing meet, took second at the nine-team Austin meet and took fourth at the Albert Lea meet. The Packers are currently 6-2 in Big Nine duals with one to go at Owatonna next week.

Here are the Packers’ results at a glance:

200-yard medley relay team: Best time: 1:50.01; First place finishes: 3

200-yard freestyle: Nick Brehmer — Best time: 1:49.46; First place finishes: 8

200-yard individual medley: Sawyer Myers — Best time: 2:15.59; First place finishes: 1

50-yard freestyle: Ian Christopherson — Best time: 23.15; First place finishes: 4

Diving: Alec Anderson — Best score: 374.80; First place finishes: 6

100-yard butterfly: Craig Heimark — Best time: 1:00.38

100-yard freestyle: Nick Brehmer — Best time: 48.96; First place finishes: 4

500-yard freestyle: Sawyer Myers — Best time: 5:16.07; First place finishes: 3

200-yard freestyle relay team: Best time — 1:33.08; First place finishes: 9

100-yard backstroke: Craig Heimark — Best time: 1:05.33; First place finishes: 1

100-yard breaststroke: Alex Laury — Best time: 1:08.10; First place finishes: 4

400-yard freestyle relay team: Best time: 3:23.37; First place finishes: 9