It wasn’t too long ago that the Havre High girls swimming team was dominating the rest of the Class A at the state swim meet at the end of each season. But after bringing home 10 consecutive state titles, it has been Billings Central that has dominated the competition the last four years, earning four consecutive titles of its own.
But current Blue Pony swimmers like senior Morgan Jappe are hoping to get their hands on that coveted state hardware.
Jappe has been an HHS swimmer for the last four years and is preparing for the all class state swim meet Feb.14-15 at the Butte YMCA. Over the years, she has swam nearly every event, including the 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, and 200 IM. She was also part of the 200 freestyle relay team that placed at the state meet last season. Next week Jappe will swim the 200 IM and 100 freestyle at the state meet.
But Jappe was also the HHS cross country manager for three years, and will complete her fourth season as a doubles player for the Pony tennis team this season. Last season she was also given the Gwen Porter Memorial Award, given to the most inspirational swimmer, at the conclusion of each swimming season.
Mix in her two years of Academic All-State accolades, as well as a third on its way, and Jappe is a well-decorated and incredibly dedicated Havre High athlete.
Here are five questions with a standout Blue Pony athlete gearing up to make her mark at state.
HDN: With state coming up next week, what will it take for the Blue Ponies or another Class A program to knock off Billings Central after four consecutive No. 1 finishes?
Jappe: “I think a team will have to swim pretty well to do that. They (Billings Central) have such a good coach and they have worked hard for years to get where they are. I think any team could do it, it would just take a lot of hard work and dedication. Their swimmers are just so devoted to the program.”
HDN: What is going through your head while you are in the water and in the middle of a race?
Jappe: “It depends on what race I am in. If I am in the 50 free for example, then I am in and out, not really worried or thinking about what I am doing. But if you are swimming the 500, you have 20 laps to think. Sometimes I might just be singing a song in my head to keep me going, but I know when I swam the 200 IM, I was just thinking about how I wanted to be done. It just depends on what race you are in, but I think everybody just has their own things to think about.”
HDN: Since you spend so much time in the water, do movies like “Jaws” ever freak you out?
Jappe: “When I was little I was always afraid that there was a shark swimming around in the deep end of the pool. But now I like the water and I am not afraid of anything like that.”
HDN: What is the toughest thing about competing against the best swimmers in the state every week?
Jappe: “We swim against Great Falls a lot during the season and that is a Class AA school, so I think that helps us. They are good because they have more people to choose from to build their fast team, but swimming against them helps us improve. When you are facing a Class AA swimmer, you want to beat them, so you improve because you push yourself. They are expected to be better than you because they are a class above you, so if you can beat them you know you are now above them. And if you can beat those better kids at the smaller meets during the season, you know you can beat those kids at state, too.”
HDN: Is there a specific event or person that got you interested in swimming?
Jappe: “Well my sister (Brooke Jappe) swam her sophomore year to her senior year and she forced me to swim my freshman year. But I hated it; I was done after that, but Chris Inman (former Havre High swim coach) kept me going, and I love it now. She was so inspirational, she really helped me, and I would not have went back if it wasn’t for her.”