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BOYS SWIMMING: North Dakota boys state swimming and diving tournament

Fargo North's Brady Coughlin leads the diving competition in the preliminaries of the ND Boys' State Swimming and Diving championships at the Hyslop pool on the UND campus photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
West Fargo's Kyle Holoien finishes a dive during Friday's preliminaries at the ND Boys State Swimming and Diving championships. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

Fargo North jumped out to a strong start early on in the North Dakota boys state swimming and diving tournament on Friday afternoon.

Defending state champion diver Brady Coughlin was in first place after the diving prelims, finishing with a total score of 214.00.

Coughlin, the two-time all-state diver, finished ahead of Bismarck Century’s Adam Berglund and Minot’s Kailan Horne, who ended with scores of 180.15 and 170.00, respectively.

“I thought we had good enthusiasm from our divers,” said Fargo North coach Dick Fisher. “That needs to carry over into the pool as far as swimming too. It’s really what it’s going to come down to, having enthusiasm to get it rolling.”

In the pool, the Spartans received strong preliminary performances from Tanner Bjorlie and Palmer Obembe.

Bjorlie swam the second fastest prelim time in both the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly, finishing behind Bismarck Century’s Loren Sether in both events. In the 200 IM, Sether broke the state record of 1:56.67 with a time of 1:55.87.

Obembe finished with the second fastest prelim time in the 100 backstroke behind Fargo South’s Connor Bjellum.

Coming into today’s finals, the Spartans have the third-best times in both the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay, and the top time in the 400 freestyle relay. 

The Grand Forks KnightRiders’ Nick McCowan scored 144.80 in the diving prelims, finishing 10th while teammate Jack Bulman sat in 16th.

“They’re (McCowan and Bulman) doing really well,” said Grand Forks diving coach Jen Anklan. “We want to get one of them in the top eight so it’s going to be a fight tomorrow. They’ve been practicing really well the last few days and consistently getting better every meet, so as long as they dive like they have been in practice they should be fine.”

The KnightRiders’ Mike White came in seventh in the 100 butterfly, while Tristan Weisz and Ben Schleicher posted the eighth-best times in the 500 freestyle and the 100 backstroke, respectively.

Sether wasn’t the only one to break a state record in Friday’s prelims — Minot’s Ethan Bahl broke the 100 breaststroke record with a time of 56.67, beating the record of 58.02.

“It’s going to be an extremely competitive and fun meet,” said Fisher. “We just have to concentrate on the fun part. We need to enjoy ourselves and take in the atmosphere. We’re fully capable of doing really well; we just need to enjoy ourselves.”