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SWIMMING: Hemp leads Bemidji entrants to state meet

Bemidji’s Sam Howard executes a dive during Saturday’s Section 5A meet held at the Bemidji High School pool. Howard finished third among the section divers and earned a berth in next weekend’s state meet. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Tyler Hemp qualified for the state meet in the 200 free and the 100 breaststroke, Sam Howard advanced in diving and the 200 medley relay quartet of Nate Gubbels, Hemp, Matt Arndt and Nick Gubbels also earned a trip to the state meet following Saturday’s second day of the Section 5A swimming and diving meet at the Bemidji High School pool.

The 200 free relay team started Saturday’s action on a great note as the unit finished second in a time of 1:43.35.

The relay squad entered the section meet seeded seventh but it improved to third after Friday’s preliminary round and continued its improvement on Saturday.

The relay team was in third place prior to the final leg but Nick Gubbels made a late push to vault the Jacks into second place.

The next event on the section meet schedule was the 200 free and Hemp was the third seed in the race. The junior kept with the leaders the entire way and heading into the final lap he was in second place.

During the waning stages of the race, however, Max Jacobson of Alexandria was able to overtake Hemp for second. But Hemp did what he needed to do as the top three finishers in each race advanced to state and Hemp claimed third.

“When you race in the relay and have to come right back against the top guys in the section, you can get a little tired and worn out,” Hemp said. “My strategy was to finish in the top three and get to state.

“Our coach (Woody Leindecker) tells us not to worry about anybody else or how they are doing. He tells us just to focus on our race,” Hemp added.

Later in Saturday’s meet Hemp advanced to state in the 100 breast stroke when he finished second in a time of 1:03.99.

Teammate Matt Arndt fell just short of gaining state in that event as he was fourth in 1:05.48.

Also qualifying for state Saturday was Bemidji’s top diver, Sam Howard.

The junior, who has been diving only two years, was second after the 13-dive preliminary round. In Saturday’s finals, Howard was battling for the second through fourth positions with one dive to go.

“When I was on the board the only thing I was thinking about was hitting that last dive,” Howard said. “It was a backward two and a half twister with a DD (degree of difficulty) of 2.7. If I hit that dive I get a lot of points. But if I don’t hit it I don’t go to state.

“But I was confident that I could hit it.”

Howard did nail the dive as he earned 5s from the majority of the judges.

“I don’t know how divers can stand so calmly on the board and do what they do,” Leindecker said. “Sam just went up there for that last dive and nailed it.”

The state meet begins Friday at the University of Minnesota pool and continues on Saturday.

Section 5A Swimming/Diving

Saturday’s Results

Alexandria 450.5, Fergus Falls 360, Park Rapids 313, Bemidji 279, Detroit Lakes 276.5, Perham 194, Thief River Falls 132, Morris 21

200 medley: 1-Fergus Falls 1:42.22. Bemidji’s result: 2-Bemidji (Nate Gubbels, Hemp, Arndt, Nick Gubbels) 1:43.35 (Bemidji qualifies for state)

200 free: 1-Aaseng (Alex) 1:47.24. Bemidji’s results: 3-Hemp 1:50.51 (Hemp qualifies for state); 8-Wright 2:00.32

200 IM: 1-Mouritsen (FF) 2:03.19. Bemidji’s results: 15-Shegrud 2:32.14

50 free: 1-Krengel (DL) 22.78. Bemidji’s results: 4-Nick Gubbels 23.25; 9-Yartz 23.37

Diving: 1-Aasness (FF) 446.05. Bemidji’s results: 3-Howard 374.30 (Howard qualifies for state); 15-Serleth 206.75

100 fly: 1-Kitzman (FF) 52.56. Bemidji’s results: 8-Arndt 1:00.92; 16-Voss 1:07.13

100 free: 1-Mouritsen (FF) 48.35. Bemidji’s results: 5-Nick Gubbels 51.18; 6-Yarta 51.58

500 free: 1-Aaseng (Alex) 4:48.50. Bemidji’s results: 6-Wright 5:23.42; 12-Voss 5:46.81

200 free relay: 1-Alexandria 1:32.23. Bemidji’s results: 6-Bemidji (Yartz, Fugli, Arndt, Wright) 1:42.67

100 back: 1-Kitzman (FF) 54.79. Bemidji’s results: 5-Nate Gubbels 59.75

100 breast stroke: 1-Langendorfer (Per) 1:02.94. Bemidji’s results: 2-Hemp 1:03.99 (Hemp qualifies for state); 4-Arndt 1:05.48

400 free relay: 1-Fergus Falls 3:22.25. Bemidji’s results: 4-Bemidji (Nate Gubbels, Nick Gubbels, Yartz, Hemp) 3:27.19