"Move your arms faster."
It's not mind-blowing advice, but it's working for Minot High's Emily Hamel.
The standout sophomore won four events Saturday afternoon to lead the Majettes swimming and diving team to a first-place finish at the Minot Invite, thanks in part to her new tactic.
Minot High junior Francesca Walker-Rozo dives into the Magic City Campus pool as sophomore Josie Gillund touches the wall during the 400 freestyle relay Saturday afternoon at the Minot Invite.
"I didn't get that until this year," Hamel said. "I kind of was trying to pace myself, but my coach told me that I just need to move my arms faster and I tried it and I got a personal best right away, so I've been doing that throughout the season. That's been helping a lot."
It's showed big time the past two days.
Hamel recorded a personal best in the 50 freestyle Friday in a dual meet against Moorhead (Minn.).
In Saturday's six-team event at Magic City Campus, she notched a season best in the 200 freestyle with a winning time of 2 minutes, 3.2 seconds. She also took first in the 100 freestyle and had a hand in two relay victories - anchoring the 200 freestyle relay and leading off the 400 freestyle relay.
"She's always one of my favorites to watch on relays, whether she's leading off or anchoring," MHS coach Dan Hinton said. "Certainly I owe Emily Hamel a big high-five for what she did these last couple meets."
The Majettes claimed nine finals heats and finished in the top five of all 12 events. And they did so a bit under the weather.
"Today we struggled a lot with illness," Hinton said. "I know we've kind of been going through it and it's just one of those things that hits you every season. I'm really looking forward to the girls getting healthier this next week and then improving even more on top of it."
Hinton said many of his swimmers flip-flopped events to accommodate sick teammates, but the results didn't suffer.
MHS took home all three relays - the 200 medley and both freestyle lengths. Junior Francesca Walker-Rozo finished the 100 butterfly in 59.39, more than 5 seconds ahead of her competitors. Fellow junior McKenna Brown finished the 200 individual medley in 2:20.31 to best the field by more than 4 seconds, and also won the 100 backstroke without a challenger in sight. Senior Sarah Bogenrief clocked in at 1:14.40 for top honors in the 100 breaststroke.
"The flexibility of our team and being able to mentally prepare themselves on the fly is what's impressed me today," Hinton said. "And then to have this illness and still maintain times - some improved times - is a big deal."
MHS tallied 559 points, followed by Mandan (418), Fargo Davies (416.5), Moorhead (294), Jamestown (290.5) and Bismarck (245).
The Majettes host Bismarck Century on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
After racing on consecutive days, Hamel is looking forward to a little rest before then.
"I'm tired," she said, "but I feel like I performed pretty well."
Ryan Holmgren covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.