Ben Smith is loving what is happening with the Jamestown High School swimming and diving team this season.

"We have a winning dual season so far so that's pretty cool," Smith, the head swimming and diving coach, said. "We are 7-1 and we've placed in the top-half of all of our invites as well so that's been really cool too. At the Bismarck Invite, our 200 freestyle relay team won that meet which was pretty cool.

"Since I have been here, I don't know if we've ever won a relay at an invite so that was a really good confidence boost for our team."

The Blue Jays most recently defeated Fargo Shanley and Wahpeton on Oct. 14. On Oct. 15, the Jays traveled to Mandan. Final results of the dual were unavailable when the Jamestown Sun went to press.

The only team the Jays fell to in dual contests was Bismarck Century on Oct. 5. The Patriots outscored the Jays 115-70.

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"A lot of our team members take on a really big role during our duals," Smith said. "Everybody has a job to do at those dual meets. Depth plays a little bit more of a role in that. It's been going really well for us."

At the Jays' double dual against Wahpeton and Shanley, Alexes Prasek and Chea Baugh, both veteran swimmers for Smith, were a part of the dual-winning 200 freestyle relay team. Baugh also helped the Jays to a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay and earned individual honors in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:44.95.

Prasek churned out state-qualifying times in both the 100-butterfly and 100-backstroke during the double dual.

Jamestown's Abbie Gilbertson does the backstroke while competing in the 200 yard IM on Thursday.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown's Abbie Gilbertson does the backstroke while competing in the 200 yard IM on Thursday. John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

While Smith's team has been outscoring most of its competition this season, the team will have their hands full at the upcoming WDA Regional Meet.

Competition in the West Region has been largely dominated by Minot and Bismarck Century again this season. Minot dominated the West for much of the 90s and early 2000s. Century began finding its footing in 2009 and has come up with nine of the last 12 state championship titles.

Minot's last state title came in 2014.

"Minot and Century are pretty tough but then it's really a toss-up for who's next between Williston, Dickinson, us and Legacy," Smith said. "We can't control how other teams do, we're just really proud of the progress that we have made and the hard work that we are putting into our practices."

In order to keep the Jays from plateauing halfway through the season, Smith and the rest of the coaching staff have slowly been building up training intensity as the season has progressed. The Jays have also taken to fixing technical issues as the season has gone on.

"Swimming and diving are both very technical sports," Smith said. "If we are not going to be able to fix these technique issues, then we have to train harder instead of smarter. I would rather us train smarter. Being aware of these technical aspects allows us to be in control of our races and our dives."

The Jays only have two more regular-season contests on the schedule this year, with a dual on Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. and an invite on Oct. 30 slated to begin at 10:30 a.m. Jamestown is scheduled to host both contests.

"Competition on back-to-back days is really good," Smith said. "It really helps set us up for our championship season. You want to make sure that you can perform well on day one and then come back and have a repeat performance on day two."

Having two meets in a row requires a certain focus and mental energy from the Jays. Smith said that in order to help his team make the mental switch, he and the other coaches remind the Jays that the hard work required -- physically and mentally -- makes the sport fun. Smith said he also repeatedly reminds his team not to waste mental energy on what the competition could do.

"If we go to a competition and beat the other team, that's great but that's not the end goal,' Smith said. "We always just want to get better personally and in our sport."

The Jays' first postseason test will be the WDA Tournament at the BSC Aquatic and Wellness Center in Bismarck. The state meet will be held Nov. 12-13 at the same venue.

"The girls are really working well together," Smith said. "We've had great progress in the pool and have found some success at competition. It's really been a delightful season so far."