Butte High’s swimming teams will play host to the state swim meet Friday and Saturday at the Butte Family YMCA.
The two-day meet begins at 11 a.m. each day, and 360 athletes from 18 teams will compete. Swimming with the Bulldogs will be swimmers from Hardin, Billings (Billings Central, Skyview, West, Senior), Bozeman, Great Falls (CMR and GF High), Helena (Helena High and Capital), Havre, Missoula (Big Sky/Loyola, Hellgate, Sentinel), Big Fork and Kalispell (Flathead, Glacier).
Helena High is the defending champion on both the boys’ and girls’ side in the Class AA. Billings Central’s boys and girls are the defending champions in the A.
Butte High’s team will feature five boys and 10 girls competing for the Bulldogs.
Based on the regular season, Butte High’s best medal hope is Keegan Whelan, who has had a strong junior season.
Whelan will compete in the 100-yard breaststroke, where he holds the No. 2 time in the state this season. He will also swim the 100-yard freestyle, an event in which he has the third fastest time in the state.
Sophomore Jake Bentley also enters the meet with two top-10 seed times in his two individual events. Bentley holds the No. 6 time in the 500 freestyle and the No. 8 in the 200 freestyle.
Seniors Chad Hicks (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Caleb Reichhardt (200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke) and junior Levin Mullaney (200 individual medley, 100 butterfly) will also compete for the Bulldogs.
On the girls’ side, senior Airika Bentley will close out her solid prep career by competing individually in the 100 butterfly and the 200 freestyle. She holds the No. 4 seed time in the 200 freestyle.
Seniors Aidan Amtmann (200 freestyle, 100 freestyle), Afton Ferry (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Tabitha Zundel (50 freestyle), juniors Carlee Johnson (200 IM, 100 breaststroke) and Haley Hildreth (100 butterfly, 100 freestyle), sophomores Carima Kohler (200 IM, 100 breaststroke), Hannah Amtmann (50 freestyle and 100 backstroke) and Paige Powers (100 freestyle), and freshman Brit Garrett (50 freestyle) will also compete.
Butte High is also hoping to contend in several relay races. The Butte High boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay team has the No. 9 seed time.