Magicians win Minot Invite

A couple days preceding Saturday’s Minot Invitational, the fact that the Magicians were hosting the seven-team swim meet had already slipped Ethan Bahl’s mind.

The Minot High junior knew he had a home meet, he just didn’t know how brawny it’d actually be.

So when Bahl learned that state-favorite Bismarck Century and a grip of other Class A programs were sharing the pool, he scrambled for advice.

“I looked at an old Facebook chat I had with (former Minot swim star) Matt Lowe,” Bahl said. “He gave some advice in the breaststroke and I was able to work on it.”

Bahl heeded the erstwhile University of Texas standout’s tips and won the 100-yard breastroke, also helping Minot win the team portion of the meet.

The Magicians (587 points) won six of the 12 events, clipping Century (537). Grand Forks (328) finished a distant third.

Bahl (1:01.82), who also helped Minot win the 200 medley relay, edged Century’s Collin Kemmesat to win the top heat.

“It was pretty close and getting kind of stressful,” Bahl said. “We needed those points and (Kemmesat) was swimming hard. It was good to beat them in our pool.”

Minot also saw Nich Buch triumph in the 100 backstroke (58.34), Luke Heilman win the 50-yard freestyle (22.60) and Jared Kramer take the 100 freestyle (50.78).

Heilman also had a hand in the winning 200 medley and freestyle relays.

“My races felt solid today,” Heilman said. “All the work I’ve been putting in is paying off. Everyone did well today, though. We just went out and swam our races.”

Minot earned a heap of points in diving, as four of competitiors finished in the top 16.

Senior Jeremy Fix led Minot in that pursuit, finishing second with a score of 366.40. Mandan’s Nathan Berger won with a 380.

“Our divers really put on an excellent performance,” Minot coach Jake Solper said. “Having that kind of depth in that event will be really important at regionals.”

Late in the meet Minot and Century were locked up in the team standings, but Minot’s numbers helped get past the Patriots.

“I’m just impressed with the overalll attitude of this team,” Solper said. “They’re putting forth their best effort each meet.

Zdenek Skalicky took second in the 200 IM (2:06.65) for Minot, which travels to the Jamestown Invite on Saturday.