It’s that time of year, and just as so many other schools are doing, the Havre High boys and girls swim teams are preparing to compete at the Montana State Swimming Championships. Today and Saturday the Blue Pony athletes will take part in the state meet in Hardin. Last season the HHS girls team reached an almost unbelievable level of accomplishment. And after claiming their 10th straight Class A state title, they are looking to take that level one step higher with title No. 11. The HHS boys are also coming off of a good championship appearance a season ago, claiming the No. 2 spot. And with both the boys and girls teams growing accustomed to state hardware, both squads are looking to bring supremacy back to Havre one more time. “We are very hopeful and very confident,” Havre High swimming coach Chris Inman said. “Our team is going into the state team with a great attitude and the willingness that they want to compete hard. They want to bring home two state titles.” For the past decade the Pony girls have dominated the state swim meet. They are almost always guaranteed to win the title, but this time around it may be a little different. They would love nothing more than to claim their 11th consecutive title, but this season hasn’t seen it’s usual Pony dominance. “We have had a great couple of weeks of preparation for state,” Inman said. “And the kids are ready to go. We have had an uphill climb all year, and Billings Central is extremely confident. They (Billings Central) have come out and dominated us in most the meets. “But I believe that if our girls can perform like they know how to,” Inman added. “They can come home with their 11th straight state championships.” The Billings Central Rams may be the Ponies' toughest competition, but HHS knows what it has to do to be successful. To claim yet another state title, the Ponies have to have strong performances by their 200 Medley, 200 free and 400 free relay teams. They have been their strengths all season long, and stand the greatest chance of placing this weekend. The 200 Medley is made up of Kacie Johnson, Megan Obrecht, Katie Johnson and Brooke Jappe. And the 200 free is made up of Logan Bunton, Jappe, Kacie Johnson and Katie Johnson. And the 400 free will be swam by Bunton, Katie Johnson, Tabitha Myers and Jappe. “Our relays are the key to the state swim meet,” Inman said. “Our girls have to place their relays, and if we can do that and our individuals come through we are going to be hard to beat. I really think we can get it done.” Obrecht has a great shot at placing individually as well this year. She placed fourth last year in the 100-meter breaststroke and should perform very well this season. Obrecht will swim in the 100-meter breaststroke as well as the 200-meter IM this weekend. Junior Kacie Johnson also has a good shot at placing this weekend, swimming in the 50-meter and 100-meter free races. Also swimming at the state meet this weekend will be Samantha French, Madeline Rick, Melissa Rick, Jessica Howland, Carona Sprinkle, Shelbee Friede, Abigail Ita and Jacquese Bull. It won’t be an easy task to bring home another state championship, but that’s not all Inman is worried about. As long as her swimmers compete to the best of their ability, this weekend will be a success. “Whether you take first place or one hundredth place,” Inman said. “If you give it all you’ve got you can’t ask for anything better. But this weekend I am sure they will make Havre proud again.” On the boys side of the HHS swim team, confidence has also grown. The Ponies are coming off of a No. 2 finish last year, and are looking to take that one step higher and bring home the championship. And though they finished behind Hardin last year, the Pony boys toughest competition this weekend will also be the Rams. And also like the girls team, the biggest points are going to come from their relay teams. HHS returns the same relay teams as last season, and their growing experience should be a great advantage. “They have to place their relays, that’s going to make or break us,” Inman said. “They got the feel of what state is about, they got the experience and now they have the confidence going in this year.” Swimming in the 200 Medley will be Evan Flathers, John Perrodin, Collin Frey-Carlson and David Jeffery. And in the 200 free will be Flathers, Jeffery, Mathew Olson and Perrodin. In the 400 free it will be Perrodin, Gregory Rhines, Jeffery and Flathers. Perrodin, Jeffery and Flathers have led the Ponies all season long with their performances in the pool. And while leading the way in the relay, they also have a good shot at placing individually. Perrodin will swim in the 100 free, while Jeffery will swim in the 50 free. Flathers will also swim the 50 free for the Ponies. Garrette Brough, Jeremy Bull, Milan Trnkal, James Cox, Sawyer Zugel and Courtlan Vukasin will also compete this weekend for the boys team. “I am confident,” Inman said. “They have that drive and that willingness to go out and give it 110 percent every time they step up onto the block. I am very confident they will come through this weekend.” The state meet gets under way today with preliminary races in Hardin. The state finals are set for Saturday.
Havre High swimmers race for state titles
Published: Friday, February 12th, 2010
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