Jamestown High School seniors Jameson Holgerson and Gage Poland, and eighth-grader Jaron Coombs, all attended diving camps hosted by Minnesota State University-Moorhead last summer. The six-hour, week-long training made a difference for the trio.
All three divers have raised their six-dive scores by roughly 40 points this season and will be competing at the state boys swimming and diving meet beginning tomorrow, March 1, at the Bismarck State College Aquatic and Wellness Center. The Blue Jays' Junior Cameron Winstead will also be diving at state.
The preliminary and semifinal rounds are six dives, while 11 dives comprise the finals. The top 20 divers make the semifinals, while the top 16 make the finals.
"We go to MSUM every year. They're an all girls team, and the girls have way better body control than I do," Holgerson said. "They're just aware of everything on the (diving) board and I learned a lot."
Winstead had the best JHS finish at state in 2018 with a 18th-place finish in the preliminaries and a score of 139.65. Poland followed in 22nd (136.9), Holgerson was 23rd (136.4), and Coombs was 27th (125.55).
With a week straight of diving off a board last summer, Holgerson improved his state-qualifying mark to 203.5 in six dives at the Grand Forks-Jamestown dual in Minot on Jan.18. The score is ranked ninth in the state.
Poland and Coombs are ranked 11th and 12, respectively, in that state with scores of 196.65 and 193.7.
"It helps a lot to have a week of just diving," Holgerson said. "I think we dived for five or six hours, while we were there. I was scoring in like the 240s (in 11 dives), I went to dive camp and now I score in the 340s. It helped a lot."
Mandan senior Johnny Mindt has crushed the six-dive rankings with a season-best 340.1, while the next competitor has a 258.8. Holgerson has seven competitors only 55 points or less above him.
"I got to work on the small things," Holgerson said. "Like my toes being pointed or my legs being together."
Holgerson said despite NCAA men's swimming and diving at the Division II and D-III levels becoming less and less, he still hopes to find a place to dive in college.
"I want to to to college for it, but it's tough now," Holgerson said. "I'm going to talk about it with (coach) Ben Smith probably after state."
JHS swimmers look to make finals
Jamestown's 200-yard freestyle and medley relay teams are right on the cusp of making the final eight at state.
The 200-free team of Andy Pfeiffer, Cole Rasmusson, Luca Flann and Noah Haglund are ranked No. 8 with a time of 1:36.77. The relay team is roughly a second off Mandan's squad.
The 200 medley, which swaps Rasmusson for Garret Wright, is also ranked eighth with a time of 1:49.63. The Blue Jays trail the sixth-and seventh-ranked teams by just over a second.
Haglund is ranked 10th in the 100 backstroke, the highest individual Blue Jay.
"I talked to my guys about not worrying about placing," Smith said. "You could swim your career best or perform your lifetime score, but so could everybody else. We focus on the things that we can control."
Overall, Jamestown is bringing seven swimmers and four divers to state, including seniors Rasmusson, Jacob Anteau, Pfeiffer, Poland and Holgerson.
"It's fun to see our hard work pay off. We swim 10-15 hours a week on mornings or afternoons, and meets on weekends," Smith said. "It's hard to put your face in the water and follow a black line for two hours. It's a lot of work, but it's fun to see hard work pay off."