BISMARCK, N.D. - At this time last year, the Century Patriots were working on winning their fourth straight State Swimming and Diving title. This year is a little bit different for CHS.
With a few tough WDA opponents, Coach Dennis Kemmesat says that it won’t be any easier once they are in the pool against every Class A team in the state. "You know certainly going into the state meet we know it's going to be super competitive with Minot, Fargo North is very strong again coming out of the east. And then you throw in kind of a mix of a lot of other teams that also are going to be really competitive, you know Sheyenne, Mandan had a really good WDA meet. So, it's going to be a fun state meet as usual."
With that much competition, the Patriots have toned down the talk of making it five straight titles, but the seniors are hopeful, and will be giving it their all.
"It's pretty exciting, I'd say as a senior it's not as exciting as it was a few years ago, but for the guys that have made the team for the first time it's pretty exciting for them, and it's still pretty exciting as a senior as well. It's something that we definitely want, and I know we've done it the past few years, it's something that we still definitely want, and hope to get it done," said Eric Bergeson, senior swimmer for Century.
"We're all definitely pretty excited to get out there and swim some best times,” said Sam Artz, senior swimmer for the Patriots. “And definitely we're all still, we're all pretty nervous about it, and we're ready to just get going in the races on Friday and Saturday."
While it won’t be easy this weekend for the state tournament, Minot is just one of the teams on Century’s radar. "Minot's going to be really tough for us this year, and there's definitely some teams in the east, like North and Sheyenne are definitely going to put up a fight as well,” Bergeson says.
Artz adds, "the first day we've got to come out and we just got to swim our hardest so we can set us up for the second day, but the second day we've got to come out on those relays. Definitely try to take first relay, and from there, we just got to keep swimming hard and just not to look back."
While practice makes perfect, Coach Kemmesat feels confident in some events his boys will compete in.
"Our stronger events, 500 free is going to be a strong event for us, coming off of a, where we've been all year. I think a couple of sprint event will be really respectable for us. We have really good swimmers in all the events, but we're probably not quite as deep as we were last year, so we have a couple of guys that are right at the top. But then after that in a couple events that's all we have are just those two guys," said Kemmesat.
Friday is the first day of the state swim meet over at the BSC Aquatics and Wellness Center. The parade of athletes will begin at 3:30 p.m. with prelims to follow.