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BOYS SWIMMING AND DIVING: Bemidji working ‘Will the Thrill drill’ amid early-season development

Bemidji junior Will Termont inadvertently minted an innovative technique, and the Lumberjacks will never be the same.

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Bemidji junior Will Termont swims the 500-yard freestyle during a dual meet against Brainerd on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at the BHS pool.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – Swimmers have a variety of drills that they undergo in practice.

Several are straightforward, and each has its particular purpose in training a certain aspect of development. But occasionally, a new drill enters the fray and breaks the mold.

That occurred recently for the Bemidji High School boys swimming and diving team, as junior Will Termont inadvertently minted an innovative technique.

“We were working on our (freestyle) form in practice,” Termont said. “I was doing the drill wrong, but with the right intentions. And I was doing some of the parts right. So then coaches changed the drill to be, ‘Copy what Will’s doing.’ Because I was bringing my arms forward well, but just too high. So then everyone got to do it. We were trying to work on being light with our arms, which I was doing, but I was just bringing them way too high.”

The new stroke was christened the “Will the Thrill drill,” and it has quickly become a part of Bemidji’s early-season regimen.

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“It's trademarked,” BHS head coach Woody Leindecker noted.

But will the new move stand the test of time? If Leindecker has any influence over the outcome, it sounds as though the thrilling new method shall in fact persist.

“I made it because I like swimming like that,” Termont said. “And I smile every time we do it, because it's crazy that I have a drill named after me. … Knowing Woody, it will (carry on).”

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The Lumberjacks encourage their teammates during a dual meet against Brainerd on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at the BHS pool.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

The Lumberjacks have incorporated different training techniques early on this season, including a “loops” drill that involves swimming repeatedly over lane lines to practice turning. With a number of new swimmers in the pool, practicing precisely has been essential as the Jacks search for consistency.

“That's how young and inexperienced this team is,” Leindecker said. “We're not going even full lengths (of the pool) in practice – well, not everybody. Because if you're going longer intervals, their strokes go to hell right away. And that's why we're going short lengths. So we're doing it right instead of pounding and going and doing it wrong. I think that makes sense.”

Bemidji matched up with Brainerd on Thursday at the BHS pool, pitting the Lumberjacks against last year’s Section 8AA champions. The Jacks ultimately lost 118-36 to the Warriors in the dual meet but had multiple top individual performers.

Moses Son paced the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.93 seconds and also took second in the 200 individual medley at 2:18.30. Brayden Anderson picked up a win in the 100 breaststroke, finishing with a time of 1:18.48 as Brainerd’s swimmers swam exhibition.

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Bemidji's Brayden Anderson swims the 100-yard breaststroke during a dual meet against Brainerd on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at the BHS pool.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Termont took fourth in the 500 free at 6:44.58 and in the 200 free at 2:25.72, while Tanner Johnson also placed fourth in the 100 free with a time of 1:01.72.

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Bemidji also found success in the relays. Johnson, Anderson, Son and Kyle Yoder tag-teamed a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay at 1:58.39. Yoder, Son, Adam Allery and Johnson combined to place third in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:47.72, as well.

Son, a junior like Termont, led the Lumberjacks in their cool down after the races on Thursday, proving that no detail is too small as Bemidji looks to season up its green group.

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The Lumberjacks encourage their teammates during a dual meet against Brainerd on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at the BHS pool.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“This is really the first time we have a lot of swimmers who kind of know how to swim,” Son said. “In past years, it's just been (that) we get the people who can to get better, and we hopefully drag the new ones along the way. But now that we have a lot of potential, we're focusing a lot more on nurturing them into becoming better, and their improvement has been absolutely insane. It's great to see that we have new guys and we have a future team and we have a lot to look forward to. So it's very exciting.”

The Lumberjacks will next compete against Thief River Falls at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, back at the BHS pool.

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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