By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Blue Ponies' swim team gets to participate in one of its most unique meets of the season Saturday.
The Great Falls Invitational is a meet that boasts all 20 swim teams in Montana. The uniqueness? Every race is a relay.
"Everybody comes from the entire state," first-year head coach Chris O'Donnell said. "It's a fun meet. It gives the kids an opportunity to swim back relays, breast relays; relays you don't normally swim during the season."
Havre will run an A and B squad in every relay.
The girls' strongest race should be the 200 medley and 200 butterfly.
Erin Lynch, Cara Holmquist, Elizabeth Stuker, and Maureen Porter make up the medley team. Last weekend at the Havre Invite, the team placed second with a time of 2:05.72.
Maria Gilleece, Holmquist, Porter, and Stuker will swim in the fly relay.
Stuker and Holmquist placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the fly last weekend.
The boys' 200 medley, made up of Ryan Bennett, Tyler Croft, Nick Porter, and J.J. Albertson, also looks to be the toughest boys' race.
The team placed third with a time of 1:58.78 last weekend.
The meet even boasts mixed medley races, something not offered at any other meet of the season.
Bennett, Croft, Stuker, and Maureen Porter will swim on the A team, while Brian Ehlert, Kathy McShane, Nick Porter, and Gilleece will swim on the B team.
"I will put some kids in some relays to see how they swim in those strokes," O'Donnell said.
Last year, the team scored just four points at the meet, and they look to improve that number this season.
Bozeman, a school that boasts 65 swimmers, Kalispell, and Billings West are the top teams this year.
Last weekend, Kalispell won both the boys' and girls' team scores with each team scoring 121 points.
Both the Havre boys' and girls' teams placed second. The girls scored 81 points, while the boys tallied 86.
"This will be a fun meet," O'Donnell said. "That is what it's designed for -- to have fun."