Submitted by Denton Taylor, Cut Bank Sharks Head Coach

After a week of practice and enough rain to induce flood warnings in much of the state, the Cut Bank Swim Team was prepped for the first meet of the season.

The practice schedule has remained the same, many faces remain familiar but it is a new season with a new team. As a new coach the biggest challenge thus far has been learning the names, abilities and personalities of this years roster. With forty-seven athletes registered, there is a lot to learn about the trends in Cut Bank.

A new challenge for the Junior, Intermediate, and Senior athletes has been the addition of abdominal and core based exercises. After challenging water-based workouts the athletes return to the dry land to participate in crunches, push-ups and planks. These abs are not your usual sit-ups, they involve twists and an extraordinary amount of core strength. If you run into a Cut Bank swimmer feel free to ask them to demonstrate a team favorite, the Zulu.

While the older team was working on their core in the morning, the Bantams and Midgets were hoping for good weather and a successful practice. This week 40 percent of the available practices were cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances out of the team’s control. Even with these unfortunate situations the younger swimmers were excited to get into the water every opportunity they had.

While all these athletes trained hard this week for a weekend of excellence, it was a team effort to produce the level of excellence that was achieved this weekend. The Cut Bank Sharks finished third overall at the Shelby Invitational.

The meet was littered with spectacular swims but in this coach’s opinion the best swims came from those new to swim team this year.

Sometimes the best effort in the pool isn’t the legal one and the bantams proved that Saturday morning. They arrived with smiles and determination. Avonlea Anderson, Ella Billsborough, Savanna Carette and Lily Fitzpatrick proved that you can still have fun even if you need some assistance as they finished the 25 yard freestyle.

In addition to our four bantam girls, we had stellar swims from Andrew Anderson, Quinten Billsborough, Nianna Light, Carson Lunak, Hannah Lunak and Daniel Scholl. These athletes all enjoyed their first meet as a Cut Bank swimmer. They not only impressed the coaches but also will be great additions to the roster this season.

The swimmer of the meet title belongs to Tycen Gehrke. Gehrke spent the most time in the water at this meet, finishing the 200 IM, 50 Fly and the 100 Breast. His determination and will allowed him to excel beyond his previous best times while he continued to look better in the water as the meet progressed.

The opening meet was not only a success but also a great introduction for this coach and his new team. Please feel free to follow our success next week as we travel to the Conrad Invitational.