MINNEAPOLIS -- Aiden Saari capped off the season for the Bemidji High School boys swimming and diving team with a 14th-place finish in the Class A state diving finals at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
“I completed all my goals for this season,” the junior said. “My main goal was to win sections and get top 16 at state, and I achieved that. Coming in 14th place, I was pretty happy.”
Saari held firm to his 14th-place positioning from the semifinals, tallying a final score of 304.9 with his last three dives on Saturday.
And not only was Saari pleased with how he did, but the first-time state participant also had the chance to share a stage with the best of the best.
“It was probably one of the best meets I’ve been to,” he said. “There were a lot of good divers, and it was fun to watch. Also lots of good swimmers. It was a very enjoyable weekend.”
Storm Opdahl of Chisago Lakes took the Class A diving title with a 470.15 score.
Breck/Blake ran away with the team title with 342 points. St. Thomas was second at 232, while Sartell-St. Stephen (218), Winona (210) and Alexandria (167) rounded out the top five. Thanks to Saari, BHS placed 32nd with three points.
Once Saari returns to the pool for his senior season in 2020-21, he hopes that this weekend’s debut sets the standard as he tries to get back.
“I’m going to try to use this experience to get better next year,” Saari said. “Hopefully I can get a better score with this experience.”