By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
If you want to see the Havre High swim team compete, your only chance will come on Saturday as the Ponies host the Havre Invitational swim meet at noon at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
The four-time defending state champions have only one home date on their entire schedule this season.
"It's a good time for people to come out and see us," said head coach Chris Inman. "They get a chance to see us compete against some very good competition."
Indeed, perennial swimming powerhouse Kalispell will bring its busload full of swimmers along with Great Falls High and CMR.
"There is going to be some very good competition for us," Inman said. "Kalispell has so many kids and they are always tough, especially their girls. The Great Falls High girls are also very tough."
The Havre girls squad will counter their opponents with sheer numbers. The Pony girls have 30 swimmers on the team and all of them will be competing on Saturday.
"We had some kids missing last weekend in Kalispell," Inman said. "This weekend we will have everyone back and suited up."
HHS will rely heavily on the performances of seniors Danielle Barton, Gwen Porter, Kasie Teske and junior Rachel Hanson. Barton and Porter should contend in the backstroke and breaststroke events respectively, while Teske and Hanson are strong in the two freestyle sprints. The quartet also forms strong 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams.
Inman will also need strong performances from seniors Brittne Zimmer and Katie Hartman along with juniors Gen Geda and Emily Kostelecky in the relays.
The Havre boys are not blessed with same number of swimmers. HHS has just 11 swimmers on the roster and will need contributions from each and every one to capture their own title.
Senior Scott Robinson captured the 50 freestyle last weekend and is the favorite to place in every meet he swims in. Sam Simpson and Kevin Friede also had strong showings in the 50 freestyle a week ago, while Ryan Kinholt, Jordan Croft, Bryden Vukasin and Anthony McLain are capable of placing for Havre.
With the Ponies still trying to build up their conditioning, Inman said meets are a good read of how it is progressing.
"We want to see improvements every week," Inman said. "We're still a little out of condition, but we are getting better every week."
The biggest thing about having a home meet is the chance to swim in front of family and friends.
"It's still early in the season," Inman said. "Having a home meet is fun because you can sleep in your own bed and you have people there cheering you on."