By Rob Everingham
With goals to win the state title on both the boys' and girls' side, the Havre High School swim team is coming into the 1999-2000 season under new direction and high hopes.
Chris O'Donnell has taken over the reins of the Blue Pony swim team. O'Donnell, who works at the Havre pool, is not new to swimming and not new to the Havre High swimming program.
O'Donnell swam all four years at Havre High, and has been coaching for the last 12 years in Havre in the age-group team programs at the community pool.
This is O'Donnell's first year in charge of a high school team.
The Blue Ponies lost 12 athletes from last year's squad. Both the boys' team and the girls' team finished second at state last season.
O'Donnell said they will be looking to some underclassmen to step up and fill the holes left vacant after graduation.
Havre does have two weeks of practice under its belt, and, O'Donnell said, the team is coming along well. She said they have been mostly concentrating on conditioning, but also have been working on their starts and turns.
The Blue Ponies open their 1999-2000 campaign this weekend as they head to the Flathead Valley for the Kalispell Invitational.
O'Donnell will be taking 13 athletes to the meet this weekend and that is fewer than half the squad. The others are seniors and will be staying in Havre for the Senior Ball.
O'Donnell said this will give the younger swimmers on her team a good opportunity to set some early times and see where they need to be going.
Havre will be hosting its only home meet of the season next weekend at the MSU-Northern pool. This meet will see the entire team, and, O'Donnell said, it will be a good gauge of where the team is at after three weeks of practice and where it needs to be headed.