BUTTE – One of the first swim meets of the season created a positive splash for three teams.
Butte High coach Lynn Shrader, as well as Julie Shannon, who coaches the swim teams at Helena and Capital high schools, came away from Friday's meet feeling good about the new season.
While there were some glitches to opening night -- computer issues resulted in the meet starting about an hour late -- there was plenty of optimism to come out of the water.
Final scores weren't readily available after the meet but this was one of those few times it didn't matter.
“I just wanted to get everybody in the water, see where they stand, what we need to work on and get rid of those first-meet jitters,” Shannon said of her Bengals and Bruins. “The kids did really well. It was what I hoped for.”
Shrader had an equal amount of praise for her squad as well.
“I wanted to see the people swim as best as they could,” she said. “I just wanted them to give 100 percent.”
While each coach has swimmers on whom they can rely, Shrader and Shannon have also been blessed with an influx of new swimmers.
Capital and Helena high schools essentially mirror each other in that they practice together and travel together. If one school is participating at a swim meet, you can bet that the other team will be there as well.
Shannon said that the double-edged program had about 47 swimmers last season. This year the Helena schools will be represented by about 75 swimmers.
“We had a lot of freshmen come in and we even have some seniors coming in for the first time,” Shannon explained. “We’ve got a lot of new freshmen coming in that have never swam competitively before and I like the way they performed.
“You just start with the very basics, the techniques, and get them to understand the science behind it. We explain to them the drag, the resistance and what they need to do.”
Helena High’s Emma Krattiger won the girls’ 100 butterfly and the 200-yard freestyle, while Capital also scored the exacta when Joe Wadhams won the boys’ 100-yard freestyle and the boys’ 100-yard backstroke.
Other local winners included Shawn Moore in the 200 IM, Zach Wadhams in the 100 breaststroke, Cassie Williams in the 50 free and Emma Dole in the 100 free.
“I’m psyched for the rest of the season,” Shannon noted. “We’re going to do really well. We are one team. We just score separately. They practice together and they travel together. The only thing that separates them is when there is scoring. They consider themselves to be one team. It’s wonderful.”
-- Curt Synness of 406mtsports.com contributed to this story