Central swimmers looking for history in state meet

2012-02-09T23:39:00Z 2012-02-10T21:30:27Z Central swimmers looking for history in state meetBy MIKE ZIMMER mzimmer@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette
February 09, 2012 11:39 pm  • 

Two more Class A championship trophies would be nice, but the Billings Central swimmers are also looking for a little history this weekend.

Coach Brenden Smith’s Rams are looking to become the first Class A school to score 100-plus points in the history of the state high school swim meet.

“You never know how it will play out, but our boys and girls both have the ability to score 100 points and finish in the top five overall,” said Smith. “To my knowledge, no Class A school has ever done that.

“We’ve come a long ways since my first year (at Central), when the boys scored 10 points and tied Havre for the team title. These kids have really raised the bar and raised their expectations.”

The state meet is today and Saturday in Great Falls.

Central’s boys and girls are both defending Class A team champions. The Ram girls finished sixth overall (combined with the AA schools) last year with 115 points and the boys were seventh overall with 76 points.

In two meets earlier this season, Central’s boys and girls defeated all three Billings AA schools and Bozeman.

“It remains to be seen whether we’ll beat all of those schools at state, because they’re deeper than we are,” said Smith. “But we have a lot of kids with potential to either win or place high in their events. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.”

The two top individuals from Billings are Central sophomore Jenna Marsh and Skyview junior Chandler Crowe.

Marsh splashed onto the scene last year by winning the girls 50- and 100-yard freestyle races, setting state records of 28.83 and 51.45.

This year, Marsh will swim the girls 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly — with the latter expected to be a duel between Marsh and Butte’s Abigail Wheeler — and will also swim on both Central relay teams.

“Jenna really wants to beat her state record in the 50 free,” said Smith. “And she’s got a good shot at winning the butterfly ... Jenna is one of those kids who swims her best in the biggest meets.”

Crowe will look to defend his title in the boys 100 backstroke. He’ll also swim the 200 IM, which he placed second in last year, and swim on both of the Falcons’ relay teams.

“Chandler is ready to go,” said Billings District 2 coach Matt Santala. “He’s had a great season. He’s got his sights set on winning both of his events, and he’s got a great chance to do it.”

Other Billings boys expected to contend for wins are Matt Wehr of Central (100 butterfly, 200 IM) Pierce Oja of Central (100 breaststroke, 200 freestyle), Bryson Boese of Central (100 butterfly, 50 freestyle), Nathan Frieders of Senior (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle), Greg Dykstra of Senior (100 freestyle), Chris Luterbach of Skyview (100 butterfly) and Magnus Johnson of Skyview (100 backstroke).

Among Billings girls, others hoping to contend for titles are Sami Duval of Central (100 butterfly, 200 IM), Sophie Malin of Central (500 freestyle, 100 backstroke) and Hope Watts of West (50 freestyle).

“I’m anticipating a great weekend for our kids,” said Santala. “The kids have prepared well and they’ve swam well the last couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to Friday’s prelims to see where we stack up heading into Saturday.”

Helena High is the defending boys champion and Great Falls CMR is the defending girls champion.

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