Wednesday, February 28, 2024

State Swimming: Glacier school records fall

Daily Inter Lake | February 11, 2024 1:30 PM

The team results weren’t quite what Karen Bouda or the Glacier Wolfpack wanted, but the veteran swim coach for both of Kalispell’s AA schools prefers to stay positive.

Glacier took nine girls to the state championships this weekend in Great Falls and despite some relay mishaps, finished fourth.

“That shows you the strength of the Glacier girls,” Bouda said Sunday, after final results came in from the meet. “They were able to get fourth without the 400 medley relay.

“That’s rough. We were expecting that relay to get into fifth or sixth position, which is still more points than an individual first. It’s always been something. We have been fourth three years in a row, because of injuries, illness and then our relays getting taken out.

“I’m really hoping next year we put it all together. These girls can podium, no question.”

Maggie Dean is the only senior on a team that scored 123 points at state. Missoula Sentinel’s girls won with 200, followed by Great Falls High (186) and Billings West (134.5).

Glacier’s boys were eighth with 79 points, well behind champion Bozeman (158), Helena Capital (151.5) and Billings West (148). Still, Bouda felt the boys also had a chance at a top-three finish but false starts in some relays — there were four altogether — precluded a jump in the standings.

Bouda allowed that it was an emotional day, but one that had plenty of highlights. 

Glacier’s girls broke their year-old school record in the 200 medley relay while finishing second in 1 minute, 52.42 seconds. So etch the names of Dean (backstroke), Hanna Vornbrock (breaststroke), Madeleine McGaughy (butterfly) and Olivia Gibbons (freestyle) into the record book.

The Wolfpack boys — Jude Flake (backstroke), Ed McNeil (breastroke), Isaac Keim (butterfly) and Jack Melnick (freestyle) finished fourth in that same relay, but broke an 11-year-old school record with a time of 1:44.35.

Keim, the Montana Grizzlies’ football signee, was second in the 100 backstroke (53.45) and third in the 100 butterfly (53.52). He owns the school records in both as well as a share of that medley relay mark.

On the girls side McGoughy was fourth in the 500 freestyle but lowered her school record by six seconds, down to 5:20.29. The Pack was also second in the 200 freestyle relay.

Bouda also raved about Gibbons, who came through with a fourth place in the 50 freestyle plus runner-up finishes in the 100 freestyle and two relays despite swimming with a torn meniscus and ACL. “Truly a gritty performance,” Bouda said.

Gibbons, who is set to have knee surgery soon, also continued her battle with McGaughy in the 50 free. McGuaghy finished third in the finals and took back the school record in the event with a time of 24.38. 

In Friday’s prelims Gibbons swam 24.43, giving her the school record — and not for the first time, even if it was just for the day.

Flathead took eight boys and one girl to state, numbers that are affected by the small practice window (8-9:30 p.m. most nights) for the Kalispell teams and the distance to The Summit. Flathead’s boys scored 22 points at state; full results can be found at

In the Class A/B ranks, the Whitefish girls were fourth with 41 points and Columbia Falls seventh sixth, while the C-Falls boys were thor with 49 and Whitefish boys were fourth at 22.

Billings Central swept the titles with 106 (boys) and 122 (girls) points.

The Wildcats’ Connor Keith won the 200 individual medley (in 2:04.87) and was second in the 100 breaststroke. Quinn Clark added a third in the 100 butterfly and a fourth in the 500 freestyle, and Thane Borgen was second in the 100 backstroke for C-Falls.

The Wildcats also had a second in the 400 freestyle relay.

Polson’s boys were second and Whitefish third in the 200 freestyle relay. Polson’s Truman Sawyer was third in the 500 freestyle.

Editor's note: Photos are by Matt Ehnes of Jared’s Detours

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