The local swim team in Plains made an appearance at the recent state titles in Lewistown with great success.
Nine swimmers out of the 14 that attended the divisionals at Columbia Falls were able to qualify to swim at the state championships.
Swim coach Danika Whitcomb said she was overjoyed with her team’s efforts at the recent meet. The meet also signaled the end of the season for most of the Piranhas, but there are still great successes that the junior athletes achieved this past year in the pool.
“I’m very impressed with how the team did at state. We didn’t take home many ribbons, but that’s never what I expected or wanted from the kids anyway. I just wanted to see them improve their personal times, and they all did that,” Whitcomb said.
Whitcomb said she is proud of the team she coached this year. She added that the team didn’t have a coach last year.
Whitcomb explained that it can be hard for the swimmers to reach and achieve goals in the pool without a coach helping to drive them to their best.
“I know that it’s hard to want to improve without a coach that cares because it’s only you motivating yourself. I just wanted to be there to push them in a way that made them accomplish something that they felt good about,” she said.
Whitcomb said she only wanted to attempt to help those members of her team reach for their personal best by supporting them and aiding in their development.
“If at the end of the season they were happy about what they did and how they spent their time in the pool, then I’m happy,” said Whitcomb.
When asked what she thought was a big highlight for the team, Whitcomb explained that there wasn’t just one standout. Rather it was a lot of little highlights for everyone. Further saying that each swimmer did themselves proud in something that they were able to achieve on their own with little assistance.
“The highlight for me was at the awards banquet where I got a hug from all the kids — even after all the sprints, they don’t hate me,” Whitcomb said.
Looking toward next year, it doesn’t look like Whitcomb will be back to coach the team.
“Unfortunately, I probably won’t be coaching next season so I won’t be involved in the off-season,” she said.
With the team in now officially in the off-season, the Plains Piranhas will be looking for other avenues to keep fit and healthy during the winter months, in between school studies.
“There’s also a rule in our swimming federation that the kids aren’t allowed to practice in the off-season because it would give them an unfair advantage, since the majority of the kids in the federation don’t have access to a pool except for in the summer. The most amazing part about our season is how much time kids can drop in just those nine weeks out of the year,” Whitcomb said.
Qualified swimmers from the Plains Piranhas team that competed at the State Finals:
Cree Lulack (age group 15-19) — 200-meter IM, 50-meter butterfly, and 400-meter freestyle
Kaylee Cole (13-14) — 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle relay, 200-meter medley relay
Rachel McNulty (13-14) — 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter freestyle relay, 200-meter medley relay
Lillian MacDonald (13-14) — 100 meter breaststroke, 200-meter freestyle, and 200-meter freestyle relay
Grace Horton (11-12) — 50-meter breaststroke, 200-meter medley relay
Genevieve Deschamps (11-12) — 200-meter IM, 50-meter butterfly, 200-meter freestyle relay, and 200-meter medley relay
Alexis Helterline (11-12) — 50-meter breaststroke
Pepper Lulack (9-10) — 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, 50-meter backstroke
Ireland Corbin (8 and under) — 50-meter freestyle
Corbin’s 50-meter freestyle, where she dropped 10 seconds.
Helterline’s 50-meter breaststroke, where she dropped 2 seconds.
The 200-meter medley relay where McNulty’s leg of the relay (backstroke) dropped three seconds.
Cree Lulack’s 400-meter freestyle, where she dropped 26 seconds and her 200-meter IM where she dropped 9 seconds.
Pepper Lulack’s 100-meter freestyle, where he dropped 7 seconds and his 50-meter backstroke where he dropped 6 seconds.
McNulty’s 100-meter backstroke where she dropped 5 seconds and her 100-meter breaststroke where she dropped 6 seconds.
Grace placed 12th overall in her 50-meter breaststroke.
Cree took 10th in the 200-meter IM, eighth in the 50-meter fly and 11th in the 400-meter free.
The 200-meter free relay placed 10th the 200-meter medley relay placed ninth.
Results and wrap up stats courtesy of Plains Swim Coach Danika Whitcomb