Normally, the Havre High boys and girls swim teams have already gotten their feet wet so to speak. But this season, the Blue Ponies have waited one week longer to do so.
Havre will open the 2012-13 swimming season by hosting the Havre Invitational Saturday, starting at 12 p.m. at the Havre Community Pool. Usually, the Blue Ponies attend the season-opening Flathead Invitational, which was held last weekend, but this season, HHS opted not to go to Kalispell, instead, holing an intra-squad meet at home last Satur
And the Blue Ponies are more than excited to make their season debut in their own pool.
“We have a really good mix of kids this year,” HHS head coach Chris Inman said. “We have a lot of seniors and a lot of freshmen. We have great senior leaders and that’s really nice. Our seniors are great leaders, great role models and they set a great example for our younger swimmers.”
The HHS girls return standouts like MacKenna Barkus, Morgan Jappe, Larissa Price, Samantha French, Leiza Reighard and Skylar Vukasin, all of whom saw plenty of time in the pool a season ago. Inman also added that youngsters like Jackie Martin, Hannah Pepprock and Alara Vogel will add talent and depth to an already solid Pony girls team.
Back for the Pony boys this year is Desmond Fialkosky, Paul Jeffrey, Bryant O’Leary, Nick Rhines, Taylor Rippenburg, Ben Siegel and Derek Van Dessel, all of whom swam for the HHS varsity team in one form or another last season. Bren Broadhead and Josh Price are also expected to give the Ponies even more depth in the pool this season.
As for Saturday’s meet, the event will be a double dual, as HHS teams take on both the Class AA CMR Rustlers and Great Falls High Bison. Traditionally, both the Rustlers and Bison are two of the strongest teams in all of prep swimming in Montana and this year will be no exception.
The CMR girls are the defending Class AA champions, while the Bison finished fourth at the state meet a year ago. The GFH boys also placed fourth at the state meet last February, and both squads will bring a lot of talented swimmers to Havre this weekend.
“It’s always good for us to swim against the Great Falls schools,” Inman said. “They always have strong teams and that makes the competition very good, and it helps our kids get better.”
And at this early point in the season, that’s what the Blue Pony swim teams are looking to – keep improving. In all, HHS will compete in three meets before the Christmas break, as next weekend Havre travels to Great Falls next weekend for a pair of competitions.
“The kids are excited,” Inman said. “We have great kids who love to compete and love to swim, and they have fun. So I’m definitely looking forward to this season.”
The 2012 Havre Invitational gets underway at 12 p.m. Saturday at the Havre Community Pool. The Blue ponies will also swim at home when they host the Class A Invite Jan. 5.