George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
The Havre High swim team has had plenty of time to think about getting back into the pool against someone other than themselves. Thanks to winter weather and the holiday break, the Blue Ponies haven’t faced real competition in nearly a month. On Saturday, all that will change when the Ponies host the 2009 Class A Invitational at the Havre Community Pool. The action will get under way Saturday morning at 11 a.m. “I think the long layoff was good for us,” HHS head coach Chris Inman. “It allowed us to work on our form, our swim stroke. And I think we were able to really work on our conditioning and get in better shape. And although the Ponies haven’t raced against real competition since the Great Falls Invitational last month, Inman isn’t worried about rust or nerves. She says her team will be ready to compete come race time Saturday morning. “The kids are really excited for this meet,” Inman said. “They are looking forward to getting in the pool and seeing what they can do. For some of them , this is their first meet ever. For some of them, because of the weather and other things, this will only be their second meet. So we have a lot of kids who are really looking forward to this meet and they’ll be ready to swim.” Saturday’s meet will only feature three teams including HHS. The other two Class A schools that offer swimming, Hardin and Billings Central will also be in attendance, and that brings extra importance to the competition. Hardin is the odds on favorite to repeat as Class A state champions in boys swimming, while both the Rams and Bulldogs are trying to catch the HHS girls, which have won nine straight Class A titles. “Hardin’s boys are deep, talented and experienced,” Inman said. “And both Hardin’s girls and Billings Central’s girls are hot on our heels, so this meet will be really good for us. We’ll know a lot about where we’re at after this meet is over. It’s going to be really good for our kids because they will get to see exactly where they stack up against the rest of the Class A.” And the time to find that out is now for HHS. The state meet is already just a month away, and counting Saturday’s meet in Havre, the Ponies only have four other swim meets before they head to Great Falls for the 2009 state swim meet. The 2009 Class A Invitational gets under way at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Havre Community Pool. This will be the only time the Ponies will swim at home this year. Havre was slated to host an invitational back in December, but that meet was cancelled due to a severe winter storm.