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Thrilling victory for Lumberjack swimmers

BRAINERD – It all came down to one race.

Trailing Brainerd 86-85, the Bemidji High School swimmers knew they needed 10 points to make sure they won their dual meet Tuesday night against the hosts.

“We knew if we finished first and fourth, we tie, but if we finished first and third, we win,” BHS head coach Woody Leindecker said.

The Lumberjacks just needed to beat the Warriors in the final race – the 400 yard freestyle relay.

“What it came down to was, our ‘A’ team had to beat their ‘A’ team, and our ‘B’ team had to beat theirs,” Leindecker said.

That’s exactly what happened. The Lumberjacks took first and third in the 400 relay to win the meet 95-90.

“This was just a great high school swim meet,” Leindecker said. “The final race was exciting, as was every heat and the third, fourth touches. Every point counted.”

The Lumberjacks ‘A’ relay team – consisting of Erin Arndt, Danielle Hove, Lexie Hendricks and Steph Frey – won that final race by less than a second, coming in at 3 minutes, 50.99 seconds. The Warriors ‘A’ team finished in 3:51.21. 

The Bemidji ‘B’ team took third place easily, 4:13.91 to 4:22.13.

In other words, Bemidji really did need every second, and every heat.

Frey, who raced the anchor leg, jumped in a half-second behind Brainerd’s Fallon Ryan but made up that time with a 53.4-second split – which Leindecker thinks is one of the fastest in the state.

“We had the right people in the right races,” Leindecker said. “And it came down to our anchor swimmer.”

The Lumberjacks head coach said that the senior had been flat in the 200 and 100 earlier in the meet but came back with a vengeance to help the Jacks win that race, and ultimately, the meet.

Frey did win the 100 freestyle but took second in the 200. Arndt won two individual races for the Jacks – the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly – while Hoven took first in the 100 backstroke. 

“Pretty much everyone swam a personal best or a season best today,” Leindecker said. “Everybody raced very well and got the places we needed. It was a good meet.”

The Jacks don’t return to the pool until Sept. 8, when they’ll host their own invitational.

Bemidji 95, Brainerd 90

200 medley relay: 1-Bemidji (Arndt, Hoven, McRae, Frey) 1:58.12. Other Bemidji: 3-Bemidji (Hewitt, Jahner, Vanasse, Williams) 2:08.02

200 free: 1-Fallon (Bra) 2:00.54. Bemidji’s results: 2-Frey 2:04.65; 3-Hendricks 2:10.91; 5-Wright 2:15.43

200 IM: 1-Arndt (Bem) 2:27.82. Other Bemidji: 4-Jahner 2:35.87; 6-Hewitt 2:41.53

50 free: 1-McKeag (Bra) 26.21. Bemidji’s results: 2-Hoven 26.32; 4-Williams 28.66; 5-Krause 29.04

Diving: 1-Etterman (Bra) 205.35. Bemidji’s results: 2-Grosfield 196.85

100 fly: 1-Arndt (Bem) 1:05.95. Other Bemidji: 2-McRae 1:06.68; 4-Vanasse 1:11.68

100 free: 1-Frey (Bem) 56.32. Other Bemidji: 4-Williams 1:02.88; 5-Knutson 1:03.99

500 free: 1-Fallon (Bra) 5:31.19. Bemidji’s results: 2-Hendricks 5:46.10; 3-Wright 6:03.62; 5-Ritchie 6:27.40

200 free relay: 1-Brainerd 1:48.24. Bemidji’s results: 2-Bemidji (Williams, Knutson, Krause, Jahner) 1:51.45

100 back: 1-McKeag (Bra) 1:03.48. Bemidji’s results: 3-McRae 1:09.46; 4-Hewitt 1:13.18; 5-Knutson 1:15.68

100 breast stroke: 1-Hoven (Bem) 1:14.23. Other Bemidji: 3-Jahner 1:20.72

400 free relay: 1-Bemidji (Arndt, Hendricks, Hoven, Frey) 3:50.99. Other Bemidji: 3-Bemidji (Knutson, McRae, Ritchie, Wright) 4:13.91

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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