BEMIDJI -- Amid one of the most demanding stretches of the season, the Bemidji High School boys swimming and diving team played host for the seven-team Bemidji Invitational at BHS on Friday.
“Right now, we are right in the middle of the grind, as we call it,” co-head coach Woody Leindecker said. “Our training has picked up, we’re in heavy training, and we’re learning how to swim fast (while) tired. That’s what good teams do, and that’s what we’re doing right now. That’s what we did tonight.”
The Lumberjacks placed fourth with 387.5 points, trailing Melrose/Sauk Centre (558), Grand Forks (422.5) and Moorhead (403.5).
“Going in, we knew it’d be competitive,” Leindecker said. “This field is very competitive with one another.”
Aidan Saari owned Bemidji’s best finish of the day, placing first in 1-meter diving at 195.10. Braden Olsen followed suit in second with a 187.20 score.
Two relay teams also finished in second for BHS. Walker Erickson, Ben Dockendorf, Brooks Matetich and Kolden Michalicek teamed up for a 1:39.51 time in the 200 free relay, while Moses Son, Dockendorf, Matetich and Michalicek posted a 3:39.36 mark in the 400 free relay.
Son added a second-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly (1:02.10), as did Erickson in the 200 IM (2:22.50). Son was also third in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:05.06, while Matetich was fourth in the 200 IM (2:25.64) and the 100 butterfly (1:02.10). Michalicek’s time of 54.44 in the 100 free put him fourth and rounded out the Jacks’ top-five marks.
“Tonight, we saw that we need to improve the sprints, relay takeoffs, that sort of thing,” Leindecker said of the team’s next steps. “We have a few more meets left, and we’re still looking at different events. A lot of these guys are new, and a lot of these guys are different swimmers than they were in previous years. We’re trying to look for different events that might work better for them at sections in a month.”
While the season marches on for Bemidji, the team also appreciated the chance to host an invite from the friendly confines of home.
“It’s just nice to be at home under our own lights and in our own water,” Leindecker said. “That’s what we talked about before the meet: Let’s swim fast at our own pool and in front of our own people.”
BHS will be back in the pool at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, for a dual at Thief River Falls.
1-Melrose/Sauk Centre 558; 2-Grand Forks 422.5; 3-Moorhead 403.5; 4-Bemidji 387.5; 5-Detroit Lakes 246.5; 6-Perham/New York Mills 128; 7-Thief River Falls 113.