BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls swimming and diving team found first-place success in multiple events but came up short overall against Moorhead on Thursday, totaling 75 points to the Spuds’ 107 in a home dual at BHS.

The Lumberjacks recorded four first-place finishes while persevering through fatigue from commencing training for November’s section meet.

“We had a lot of good times,” head coach Woody Leindecker said. “The scoreboard didn't show that. But I mean individually, everybody did really good, considering we're probably in our toughest part of the season right now training-wise where we're into a pretty heavy load.”

The Jacks are ramping up their pacing in practice, something that breaks down their stamina for meets. Nevertheless, Leindecker thought they mostly embodied his mantra of “swimming fast tired.”

Bemidji sophomore Marley Ueland competes in the 200-yard freestyle in a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji sophomore Marley Ueland competes in the 200-yard freestyle in a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

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“We're doing a lot of race pace training, a lot of sprint training, and what that's doing is they're getting broken down now,” Leindecker said. “And they’re swimming pretty tired, most of them are. … They're learning to do that. If you can learn to swim fast tired, you'll be fine in November swimming fast.”

Moorhead proved to be a formidable opponent, an expected outcome given their status as the reigning section champions in Section 8AA. Facing an opponent of the Spuds’ stature helps Bemidji measure itself against the best and shows the Jacks how far they have to go if they want to be champions.

"(It helps) a lot, because they can just see how the best do it,” Leindecker said. “They're the defending 8AA champions from last year. And we're the newcomers to the section too, so we don't know a lot about the other teams. But we see Moorhead all the time because we're up here (in Bemidji).”

No championships were won Thursday night, but several Lumberjacks finished in first place. The Jacks swept the top three places in diving, with Mady Schmidt taking top honors at 228.00 points. Kennedy Olson finished second with 186.70 points and Ridley Hadrava finished third with 184.95.

Bemidji senior Mady Schmidt dives in a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji senior Mady Schmidt dives in a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Ryan Gaskins finished first in the 500-yard freestyle relay with a time of 5:52.20, nearly twenty seconds better than the second-place finisher.

In the 200-yard free relay, Marley Ueland, Elena Harmsen, Molly Matetich and Kylie Donat earned top billing with a combined time of 1:55.00. Abi Lietz, Brooklyn Nielsen, Mackenzie Raisch and Marlee Bieber took second with a combined time of 1:59.66.

Bemidji continued its winning ways in the relays with a triumph in the 400-yard free relay. Gaskins, Harmsen, Mya Lundeen and Abigail Daman topped the leaderboard with a time of 4:11.75, and Donat, Ueland, Lietz and Matetich claimed second at 4:20.15.

The Jacks had some success, but also plenty to learn from, an outcome Leindecker was satisfied with at this point in the season.

The Lumberjacks cheer on a teammate during a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
The Lumberjacks cheer on a teammate during a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

“Regular season meets are just a measuring stick for us,” Leindecker said. “Win, loss, it's fun to win, but we're all about and we've always been about performing at our best at sections and beyond. And that's been the whole last 25 years that I've been here. And our philosophy is pretty simple. You practice to swim fast, you will swim fast. I mean, I don't tell them to practice slow, because that's not the point. It's pretty simple.”

BHS simulated a meet on Tuesday to compensate for not having swum in a competitive setting in over a week, and the Lumberjacks showcased success in that session that could serve as a building block for the future.

“We had them each go 100 (yards) of their best, and we'd swim it down, and recover, and then swam (another) 100,” Leindecker said. “And I think (we had) half the team that went their season-best times. Some of our younger ones that saw that (were impressed). And we saw that a lot tonight.”

Bemidji returns to the pool for a dual meet with Fosston at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at BHS.

Bemidji sophomore Ava Lietz competes in the 200-yard medley relay in a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji sophomore Ava Lietz competes in the 200-yard medley relay in a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Bemidji eighth-grader Abigail Daman competes in the 200-yard individual medley in a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Bemidji eighth-grader Abigail Daman competes in the 200-yard individual medley in a meet against Moorhead on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Bemidji High School. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)