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Depth is key for Majettes swim and dive at state tournament

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN Minot High freshman Elise Altringer swims during a practice. The Majettes will participate in the two-day state competition in Bismarck today and Saturday.

BISMARCK — Minot High School freshman Elise Altringer sees her former self in the younger Majette swimmers and divers.

Of the 15 Minot athletes heading to state, five are in seventh or eighth grade. The Majettes will begin the first of the two-day competition at 12:30 p.m. this afternoon at BSC Aquatic & Wellness Center in Bismarck.

“For all those younger kids coming up, I want to help them,” said Altringer, who will compete in the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle events. “I want to encourage them to keep on swimming. It’s really fun because you kind of see your younger self grow a little bit.”

The Majettes will try to use momentum built from their second-place finish at last weekend’s WDA meet in Bismarck. Although Bismarck Century won the meet with 568 points, Minot edged out Williston 314 to 301.5.

“We’ve got kids who swim really fast and have kids that kind of maintain,” Minot head coach Emily Jensen said. “As long as our kids stay focused and remember that their season plan is to swim fast Friday, then I think we’ll be there. The big thing is that we can’t score points if we don’t swim fast Friday.”

That quick start will be key, as Saturday’s swimming action consists of strictly relays and preliminaries.

“I think that it’s an exciting time for them,” Jensen said. “They will just focus on racing and do what they’ve planned to do for the last 14 weeks. Every year, the kids always surprise me with their work ethic and the ability to step up when the time comes.”

Nutrition and rest are two of the competition’s most critical components. Minot sophomore Jordn Wolsky said she plans to load up on carbohydrates, eating noodles along with chicken or steak.

“After all that hard work, you really need to rest up,” said Wolsky, who qualified for the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard backstroke races. “Just so you’re ready for the next day.”

Over this past week, the Majettes tapered in practice. During a taper, a team will reduce exercise in the coming days before an important competition.

“This week of taper will really help us at state,” Altringer said. “You don’t always feel the best during taper, but you swim fast.”

Jensen and the coaching staff measured the Majettes’ progress all year. Now, the team must evaluate its progress in between two days at state.

“I’m most excited to see where I’m at and see where all the other girls are at,” Wolsky said. “I’m excited to see all the hard work we’ve put in this season pay off for not only me, but for everyone else.”

After today’s 12:30 p.m. diving portion, the swimmers will take the stage at 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, diving will begin at 10:30 a.m., with swimming to follow at 1:15 p.m.

Minot’s mettle will be tested, as the Majettes will face a challenging lineup of East and West squads.

“Their mental toughness has always surprised me as a coach,” Jensen said. “I am just proud of them for that. I think it’s fun to think about the future.”

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.

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