Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Hardin Bulldog swim team had a number of state placers for the 2014-15 season, with each swimmer turning in at least one personal best.Back row (from the left): Assistant coach Eric Hertle, Kelcie Roan, Madison Flamm, Elissa Lind, Andrea Stump, Cici Three Irons, Nicole Nedens, Michaela Hafeman and Head Coach Georgia Forney; second row: Lane Blankenship, David Evans, Michael Neeser, Jodel Yarlott, Slade Brien, Anthony Wagner, Chance Elhard and Taylor Lundberg.

Bulldog swimmers take third place at state and achieve personal bests

The Bulldogs put their season best swims on the line this weekend at the High School State Meet in Missoula, placing third in Class A for both the boys and girls. Billings Central took home first place for the boys and girls, and the Columbia Falls boys and Havre girls earned second. 
Every Bulldog swimmer ended the 2015 season with a personal best swim time in one or more events. 
Kennan Hooker earned top honors for the team as the only individual swimmer to place in the top 12. Hooker placed ninth (24.53) in the 50-yard freestyle preliminary round on Friday and finished ninth (24.72) again in finals on Saturday. 
Going into the meet, the team was comparatively weak in the 200-yard medley relays with both the boys and girls seated 15th. In the 400 freestyle relay and in the 200 freestyle relay we were seeded border line to finish in the top 12 and another shot for placing in finals on Saturday. 
The boys medley relay (Chance Elhard, Jordel Yarlott, Anthony Wegner and Hooker) swam an amazing race, finishing 13th and gaining an alternate to the top 12. The girls medley (Nicole Halfpop, Elissa Lind, Michaela Hafemann and Maddie Flamm) finished 17th. This is the first race at every meet and as great as they swam, the Bulldogs still came up short on a time that would have put them in the top 12.
In the 200 freestyle relay the girls team (Nicole Nedens, Lind, Flamm and Halfpop) were seeded 14th with a 200.09. They swam a fantastic race and finished 12th in preliminaries with a 1.59 then came back stronger on Saturday with a time of 1:57, finishing 12th. This was an impressive 3-second improvement for the girls relay.
The boys 200 freestyle relay (David Evans, Michael Neeser, Hooker and Elhard) dropped 2 seconds from their 13th seed time (1.46) for an 11th place prelim swim of 1.44.83, allowing them another shot in the finals on Saturday, where they swam a season record swim of 1.44.08, finishing 11th overall. This too was a significant improvement for this boys relay team.
In the 400 yard freestyle relay the girls’ (Lind, Nedens, Flamm and Halfpop) best effort all season seeded them in 12th with a time of 4:40. In prelims, they finished 11th with 4:36 and ended the state meet 11th in finals with a swim of 4:34. Over the course of two days, they managed to drop six seconds from their time.
The boys 400 freestyle relay (Hooker, Evans, Neeser and Elhard) had a 10th place seed with a time of 4.04. In prelims they finished 11th with a 3.59 and another 3.59 time, with an 11th place finish overall.
The top 12 in individual and relay events score points. Others close to the top 12 were Chance Elhard in the 500 freestyle with a 19th seed and 19th finish, and Nicole Halfpop with a 16th seed and a 15th place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke. 
This was a spectacular meet in lieu of times and state records broken. The Bulldogs often watched in awe the fantastic job put forth not only by our own team but the field as a whole. 
Swimming on the girls team at state were Flamm, Hafemann, Halfpop, Lind, Nedens, Kelcie Roan and Andrea Stump. The boys team included Evans, Hooker, Neeser, Elhard, Wegner, Yarlott, Lane Blankenship, Slade Brien and Taylor Lundberg. For placement in the other teams, the Columbia Falls girls placed fourth. The Big Fork and Whitefish Girls had no placers, along with the Havre and Whitefish boys who also did not place any individuals or relays in the top 12.
The following senior swimmers will be graduating this year: Slade Brien, Chance Elhard and Andrea Stump. They have been an integral part of the team as students, athletes and friends. Not only did they end the season with great swims in the water, but they also displayed great academic capability in the classroom. The team will miss them as they complete this chapter and begin another journey in their lives.