Around the pool at Magic City Campus hang banners.
Twenty-five are aligned to showcase the state-championship dominance of the Minot High School boys swimming and diving program, winners of 12 state titles since 1999.
Along the same walls hang the girls' banners: 22 of them, including an 11-year stretch when the Majettes won every year. There's a void in those banners, though.
Adam Lawson/MDN • Minot High School junior Devin Scott swims during practice at Magic City Campus on Wednesday.
MHS hasn't won a girls state championship since a six-year title streak ended in 2009.
Dan Hinton was the architect behind the Majettes' most recent string of championships, leaving after the 2008 season to finish his degree in Florida. Hinton returned to Minot and the program last season, when the Majettes finished third.
"It's hard to say why it just stopped," Hinton said. "Century had been building a team for so long and North has been building and West Fargo. They've really, really kinda caught up to us in terms of numbers as a team. I don't think it's anything we've been doing wrong or anything we've been doing different. I just think that some of the teams kind of caught up to us."
It's the time of year Hinton refers to as championship week. A two-day meet Nov. 9-10 in Bismarck will crown the North Dakota champions. But first up is the West Region meet, held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Bismarck.
If the Majettes do well, it could signal an upcoming end to Minot's title drought.
"It definitely sets the stage," junior Devin Scott said. "It just shows the other teams how you're going to do and it just shows them if Minot High places well that they should be worried."
Once a team that finished runner-up six times in the 1990s, Bismarck Century has become a power. The Patriots have won each of the last three state titles and figure to have a shot at a four-peat.
In five common meets, Century has placed better than Minot on three occasions. In Saturday's Marney Shirley Invite in Jamestown, the Majettes bested the Patriots by 169 points. But neither team put its best swimmers in their best events for those meets. Regionals might be a truer head-to-head matchup, but Hinton said that's only if he guesses correctly.
"It all depends on if we picked right," Hinton said. "I really don't know where he's going to put a couple of his girls. I have a good idea but I really won't know until I see the program for WDA. It's anybody's guess. I just try to do my lineup to play on their weaknesses. That's about all I can really do."
What was once a team of about 40 girls has been cut in half for regionals. At state, it'll get pared down further.
It doesn't help that arguably the Majettes' two best swimmers, Scott and sophomore McKenna Brown, are battling ailments. Scott missed the Marney Shirley Invite with shoulder tendinitis. She'll swim the 100-yard butterfly and 50 freestyle, along with two relays. She said she thinks she can win the butterfly and would like to cut her freestyle time below 26 seconds.
Brown, on varsity since seventh grade, suffered an ankle injury in gym class a couple of days before her team's senior day meet against Williston. After fighting through the pain to finish fifth in the 200 freestyle, Brown withdrew from her other three meets, a decision that brought her to tears.
"I actually cried," Brown said. "I couldn't do it. It hurt so bad and I did not want to let the team down after the four years I've been here. I just didn't want to let my team down on senior night."
Brown said the ankle is about 70 percent and that it should be good to go to swim four races this weekend. She is expected to swim the 500 freestyle, an event she won at last year's region meet. She said she'll also swim the 200 freestyle and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Hinton said after a season of practices and meets, the West Region meet is a steppingstone to filling that three-year state-championship void.
"They're just kinda getting hungry to get some of these banners back on the wall and fill the rest of this space up," he said.