MOVING OUT — Junior swimmer Dania Jones competes in the 200IM, placing sixth at the state meet in Columbia Falls. Photo for the I-O by Amy Salois
The Conrad swim team capped off a remarkable season in Columbia Falls by swimming to a Class A State Championship and bringing home the heavy hardware.
The top three teams and points earned looked like this: 1. CONRAD 347, 2. Shelby 308 and 3. Malta 289.
The Falls population exploded for the weekend as 576 swimmers from 24 teams from as far east as Sidney and from the west as Hamilton came with dreams of top places
However, it was Conrad, led by four individual state champions, Brady Barnhill, Ronnie Barnhill, Ali Broesder and Hunter Mycke who rose to the occasion.
Twenty-four Conrad swimmers all placed and scored the team points needed to earn the home squad a state championship.
Coaches Llew and Carole Jones, Craig Barringer and Melissa Barringer all echoed that, throughout the season, the coaches and team were focused on the concept that “success can only be earned when driven by desire,” and that, “Success is a journey requiring long-term commitment, not a weekend destination.”
The coaches also noted that, with practices running 5-6 hours a day five days a week, and swim meets taking up every weekend in June and July, the commitment required to be successful is high and the journey sometimes arduous, however, the swimmers rose to the challenge, delivering a performance in Columbia Falls that was exceptional, with many obtaining their personal best times of the season.
And while there are often numerous examples of problems and challenges in the media that face today’s youth, the dedication, commitment, respect, and hard work demonstrated by this young team is evident that the best is yet to come.
Carole Jones commented, “It is also exciting to note that this team’s journey is far from over as it has no graduating seniors. In fact, it will not for the next two years.”
The coaches noted that there are many parents and volunteers whose hard work helped take care of the many hidden details of managing a swim team. And, the Conrad community, businesses, and city have always gone the extra mile to invest in the success of their youth and the future of the area.
Following are the individual and team relay places:
Brady Barnhill 3rd-100IM, 1st-25 fly; Sheridan Richter 10th 100IM, 8th-25 back, 5th-25 fly; Payton Vermulm 8th-25 free, 11th-25 back; Nyssa Welker 5th-25 free, 5th-50 free, 8th-25 fly; Roper Mycke 8th-25 back, 8th-25 fly; Audrey Taylor 10th-25 back; Makayla Welker 12th-25 back; Riley Yeager 12th-25 fly.
In the boys’ 100m free relay, Yeager, Brayden Stordahl, Mycke, and Barnhill placed 4th. In the boys’ 100m medley relay, the team of Stordahl, Mycke, Barnhill and Yeager took 3rd.
In the girls’ 100m free relay, Vermulm, Welker, Taylor and Richter placed 2nd. In the 100m medley, Vermulm, Taylor, Richter, and Welker placed 3rd.
Ronnie Barnhill 3rd-100IM, 1st-50 back, 2nd-50 fly; Allison Broesder 4th-100IM, 1st-100 free, 2nd-50 fly; Jessica Kinamon 4th-50 free, 8th--100 free, 11th-50 back
Girls’ 100m free relay, Broesder, Naomi Yeager, Jaylynn Krause, and Kinamon placed 6th and the 100m medley relay team of Kinamon, Yeager, Broesder and Krause took 3rd.
Brooke Mycke 11th-200IM; Sheridan Johnson 8th-200IM, 6th-50 back; Dania Jones 6th-200IM, 6th-100 free; 5th-50 fly; Andrea Russell 3rd-200IM, 1st-50 back, 2nd-50 fly.
In the girls’ 200m free relay, the team of Russell, Alexandra Wakkinen, Johnson and Jones captured 3rd. The 200m medley team of Russell, Mycke, Jones and Johnson were in 2nd.
Kyleigh Salois 5th-200IM, 4th-100 Fly, 4th-50 fly; Ivy Kinamon 12th-100 free; Hunter Mycke 1st-50 free. Mycke set a pool record, 27:33 in this event. The old record was 27:83. He was 6th in the 100 free and 7th-50 fly.
Skylar Shirley 12th-200IM, 11th-100 fly; Makayla Barringer 3rd-50 free, 2nd-100 fly, 2nd-50 fly; Taryn Erickson 6th-100 back, 6th-100 breast.
In the girls’ 200m free relay, the team of Erickson, Shirley, Salois and Barringer placed 5th. In the 200m medley, Barringer, Erickson, Salois and Shirley came in 3rd.