Bozeman swimming

The Bozeman girls swimming team won the Class AA championship on Friday in Great Falls.

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Knowing all the effort and time required to reach that point, Bozeman swimmers shouted as their captains picked up their championship trophy.

“That was awesome,” Hawks senior Sara Guillen said. “The girls went insane. It was cool to see all their hard work pay off, and it was really cool to end up with a championship.”

The Bozeman girls defended their state title by winning the Class AA meet with 245 points Friday at Great Falls. The runner-up team, Great Falls CMR, had 152 points.

Gallatin’s girls took fourth with 110 points, despite having just five swimmers available. Bozeman’s boys, last year’s state championship program, were fifth with 121 points. The Raptors boys were ninth with 44 points.

“That was awesome. Both the boys and girls teams have worked really hard this year,” Guillen said. “The girls had so many people step up that were freshmen and underclassmen. They really took it into their own hands … and it really paid off for the entire team.”

Raptors freshman Julia Huffmaster became the first athlete from Gallatin to win a state swimming championship. She broke the 200-yard individual medley state record, finishing the race in 2 minutes, 5.21 seconds.

Huffmaster said she had been working all season to set that record. Raptors and Hawks head coach Siobhan Gilmartin said Huffmaster cried when she found out she successfully accomplished that feat.

“I felt like I had a really good warmup,” Huffmaster said. “I just felt really strong at the start of that race and through the whole thing.”

Huffmaster also won the 100 butterfly in 56.79 seconds. Huffmaster said she’s eager to see what the Raptors can continue to do after this first year as a program.

“It’s awesome to be able to be a part of it, especially this year,” Huffmaster said. “I think we can do a lot.”

Hawks freshman Rylee McColley won the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.16, setting a state record herself.

“I was super, super excited about it. My nerves were high, but also my adrenaline was high,” McColley said. “I knew if I wanted the record I had to go all out.”

The Hawks girls’ 200 medley relay team consisting of Annika Lawrence, McColley, Guillen and Annika Mittelsteadt won in 1:48.39, breaking a school record.

Gilmartin called that a “big win” and added it set the tone for the Bozeman girls the remainder of the day.

“It was just so fun,” Guillen said. “We were all screaming and tried to finish it off, and we weren’t sure how close we were to the record. We saw we crushed it, and that was such a good feeling.”

Guillen won the 200 freestyle in 1:55.07. Mittelsteadt was second (1:57.28) and Sierra Ducharme was third (1:58.19) for Bozeman. Guillen felt excited for her teammates as the Hawks had taken the top three spots in that event last season as well.

“I think that was one of the big highlights for me,” Guillen said.

Guillen also won the 500 freestyle in 5:11.67.

For the Bozeman girls, their 200 freestyle relay won in 1:42.5 — beating Gallatin by .03 seconds. The Hawks’ 400 freestyle relay won in 3:37.93.

“They just dominated,” Gilmartin said. “That was fun to see them have success.”

Gilmartin was proud of her boys’ teams. She’s looking forward to seeing what those programs can do in the future.

Senior Isaac DuCuennois led Bozeman by taking fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:04.98) and fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:49.56). Hawks senior Owen Reinhart was fourth in the 50 freestyle in 22.73 seconds.

Gilmartin added she was happy two people per athlete could attend the event after most of Bozeman’s and Gallatin’s meets have been virtual.

“The energy from the crowd is impossible to replicate,” Gilmartin said. “That was so exciting to be able to pull that off.”

Guillen said she expected to go into the state meet nervous, though she was a senior and had won state titles in multiple events previously.

But before one of her events, while competitors were stretching and preparing, she said she danced with her teammates. Considering it was her last high school meet, she wanted to enjoy it.

“It was really nice,” Guillen said, “to end off on a good note.”

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Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.