They may have had to wait an extra week, but the Havre Blue Pony swim teams won’t have to wait to race any longer.
On Saturday, the Havre high boys and girls swim teams open 2010-11 season with the Havre Invitational at the Havre Community Pool. The Blue Ponies were scheduled to open last weekend in Kalispell, but HHS’s Senior Ball, and a lack of swimmers having the required 10 practices to compete forced HHS to push back the start of the season.
So instead of competing short-handed in Kalispell, the Blue Ponies will get a chance to make their season debut in front of their home fans.
But more changes are in store for HHS this weekend. A pair of teams which usually attend the HHS meet decided not to make the trip this weekend, so the Havre Invite, normally a race-style meet, will now be a dual meet with swimmers from Class AA Great Falls.
Still, longtime HHS head coach Chris Inman said recently her team is excited to get the season started.
“It’s always good to swim at home,” Inman said. “The kids really enjoy swimming in their own pool. It’s disappointing that we don’t have more teams coming, but we’ll make the most out of it, and it will still be very good competition for all of our kids."
The Ponies are coming into a brand new season with plenty of optimism.
The HHS boys are the defending Class A state champions and will begin the quest to repeat on Saturday. Meanwhile, last season saw the HHS girls fail to claim the state championship for the first time in a decade. But the Ponies return plenty of talent this season, and adding to the mix on both the boys and girls sides is a strong group of new swimmers, which should help give the Ponies plenty of depth as they battle Montana’s elite competition, not just on Saturday, but all season long.
“We’ve got a good group of young swimmers and newcomers to the team and many of them will have a big impact on this season I believe,” Inman said. “To start the year, we’ve been focusing a lot more on techniques, starts and turns, because we have so many newcomers. And we’ve had really good practice sessions so far. Everything has gone really well and the kids are eager to start the season and get out there and compete.
Havre’s only home swim meet this season is slated to get underway at 12 p.m. at the Havre Community Pool.