Majettes swimming & diving into the season

Ashton Gerard/MDN Minot High senior Olivia Schoffstall practices a reverse dive Thursday at Magic City Campus.

The Minot High girls swimming & diving team is highlighted by a plethora of senior leadership heading into the 2018 season, something they were lacking last season.

“We have nine seniors this year and that is the group of kids that started when I first came on so they kind of created the program that we have today,” Majettes head coach Emily Jensen said. “They’re great leaders and they’re really showing our new swimmers what we expect in the program and what we want to represent more than just swimming and diving.”

Last season, the Majettes took third at the state meet with 243.5 points behind Century (400) and Fargo Davies (315). The team also received the Team Scholar Award in 2017 for having a collective GPA of 3.2 or higher.

A few of the returning seniors include swimmers Rylie Webb, Bella Brooks, Hannah Zaderaka, Ashley Chabot and divers Adisynn Widdel and Olivia Schoffstall.

“Our diving will certainly be a strength,” Jensen said. “Our freestyle has always been a strength for us in the swimming events and that will not change.”

Senior divers Widdel and Schoffstall, who finished second and seventh respectively at the state meet last season, lead the charge for Minot’s diving team. They are joined by two returning divers and four new divers.

“We’re pretty excited that we have so many (divers) this year, it gives us more variety,” Majettes diving coach Barb McPeak said.

In eight practices, all eight divers were already doing six different dives which qualifies each of them to participate in the first meet. By the end of the season they need to be able to do 11 different dives at the state meet.

“We got a new pulley system, it’s a harness to help them learn,” McPeak said. “You can hold them in the air a little longer so they can figure out where to put their head down so they don’t smack on the water or hit the board.”

The harness takes the fear and risk out of learning new dives and has helped the new divers progress faster than they have been able to in the past.

“I want to get all four of the divers I take to state into the top 16,” McPeak said about her goals for the season. “I don’t think that it’s out of reach by any means.”

Jensen hopes to get closer in the backstroke and breaststroke events. The stroke events are something that the team has constantly been trying to improve on and she’s wanting to see the team be more competitive all-around.

The Fargo teams are always big competitors throughout the season, while Century is Minot’s biggest rival in the West. Century has won the WDA Championship every year from 2015-2017. Minot High’s last WDA Championship win was in 2014.

“Century is a tough team,” Jensen said. “They come from a lot of good club kids and they’re a big club team that competes all year round so to match up with them is pretty difficult.”

The Majettes travel to Fargo for meets twice this season to compete, which they haven’t done in the past two years.

“It will be fun to see where we compete against those East teams early in the season,” Jensen said.

Having completed four years under Jensen’s program, she’s excited to see what the seniors can do in their final season as Majettes.

“There’s a lot of talent in that senior group,” she said. “They come to the table with four years of being a part of the team and having good leaders before them and now they are in that role and really stepping up as a whole.”

The Majettes begin their season today at the Williston Invitational starting at noon at the Area Rec Center. There they will see Williston, Century, Bismarck High and Legacy.