Whitefish swimmers put the finishing touches on the season with second-place finishes at state for both the boys and the girls.
In both boys and girls team totals, Whitefish finished behind Billings Central Catholic. Columbia Falls took fourth in both team totals.
Preston Ring led the way for the Bulldogs with a fourth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.31) and a fifth-place in the 200 freestyle (1:47.92).
For the girls, Annie Sullivan capped off a great season with a fifth-place finish in the 500 freestyle (5:31.69).
Head coach Emily Von Jentzen said as a whole, the team showed up to compete.
In preliminary competition, the team had 37 personal best times out of 46 swims. In the finals, the team had four swimmers in seven individual events and an addition best time in the finals by Sullivan.
Two relay teams made finals as well, the boys 200 freestyle, girls 400 freestyle. Both teams took 11th.
“We had 80 percent get personal bests at state, so that was pretty awesome. Coach Savannah and I were really trying to gear the kids to beat there personal bests. When you get the kids to state, there’s a lot of emphasis on winning, but as a coach, personally I like to focus on being better at the end of the season than you were at the beginning,” Von Jentzen said.
New school records were set by Ring’s 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke times and Sullivan’s 500 freestyle in the preliminaries.
With her first season as coach in the books, Von Jentzen said she’s pleased with how things turned out.
“I thought it was a really good season. I think any time you have a coaching change, especially when you have the whole staff replaced, I think it takes a year to figure out how you want to do things and how the kids work together. I think our overall plan for the team worked very well, and I think the kids responded very well,” she said. “I felt really good about the cohesiveness of the team at the end of the season. It’s interesting coaching two different schools at the same time, but there was never a sense of the schools not getting along. I really found that to be a really enjoyable part of the season, seeing the kids enjoying each other.”
Now it’s time for some younger swimmers to step up, she said.
“We have eight graduating seniors,” she said. “It’s hard, because any senior that graduates leaves a little hole in the team, and we have a handful of seniors that were definitely really fast swimmers. I think the underclassmen are ready to step up and fill the shoes of the seniors that are graduating.”
State Swim Results
At Swarthout Fieldhouse Pool
1. Billings Central Catholic 53; 2. Whitefish 30; 3. Hardin 7; 4. Columbia Falls 4
1. Billings Central Catholic 65; 2. Whitefish 19; 3. Havre 18; 4. Columbia Falls 2
Boys 200 Freestyle: 5 Ring, Preston A SO Whitefish High 1:47.92
Girls 500 Freestyle: 5 Sullivan, Annie M JR Whitefish High 5:31.69
Boys 100 Breaststroke: 4 Ring, Preston A SO Whitefish High 1:02.31