BISMARCK, N.D. — The Century Patriots have yet to finish outside of the top three in their events this season, but this strong start to the 2023 campaign hasn’t come without facing adversity. This Patriots team is working with roughly 60 percent of the roster size from the 2022 season, and with less swimmers, Century has become a tight-knit team.

“Going from 50 to about 30 girls, we did lose some,” senior Mady Tivis says. “I think us keeping as a family really helps during swim meets, on our bus rides. We’re each other’s best friends, family, and it really just helps knowing that we have that security here at the pool and wherever we go.”

“We always say one team, one goal, one family,” sophomore Abby Jablonsky adds. “All of us being together at the same school really just creates that family environment. We’re always very uplifting at practice. We’re having a great time… and I’ve learned so many things from all of these girls.”

A big piece of the family-like bond is head coach Spencer Wheeling, who joined the Century swim program when the current senior class was in the seventh grade. Having a familiar face each day at the pool, has helped the chemistry and bond grow.

“Since I’ve been around, they’ve been around,” Wheeling says. “They’ve gotten to know me personally. I’ve got to know theirs. It’s helped us get on the same page, and once our upperclassmen are on the same page, then that’s when you can start delivering it down to the class below. And then you get that tight knit group of acting as this one big family, and making things happen.”

“Spencer is like family to us,” Jablonsky says. “He is a great role model. He pushes us beyond our limits. He’s just been such a great coach throughout my whole entire high school career.”

In the pool, the Patriots rely on senior leadership from seniors, such as Tivis and Lauryn Caster. However, the performances from the younger competitors has showcased the depth that the team has, and the future leaders.

“We have a lot of younger kids that have just either joined the team and have really wowed us out the gates,” Wheeling says. “Whether they’ve qualified right away or have just come back and just improved from last season. We’ve seen a lot of five to 10 second drops from some of that younger generation as well.”

“Junior Kylie Duchscherer and sophomores Abigail Jablonsky and Sienna Mrachek and all those other girls not only play a role on this team, but just really help our team,” Tivis adds.

For the rest of the season, Wheeling wants the team to have fun and enjoy the time together, before focusing on expectations and results.

“Everyone’s here,” he says. “It’s just a quick 13 week season and we want them to enjoy it because if you blink, it goes by. So, our number one step is always to have fun when we’re on the team and once we kind of establish that, now they can work and develop their skills. As long as we meet those, then we can start talking about winning as as far as having expectations.”

Century’s next meet is the Century, Minot, Williston Double Duals at the Magic City Campus Pool in Minot on Thursday.