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The student news site of C. M. Russell High School

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The student news site of C. M. Russell High School

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Girls swimming captures fourth state title, boys take fifth place


Prior to the last two races of the season, assistant swim coach Julie Anderson knew the CMR girls had earned a fourth consecutive state title.

“It’s very nerve-racking that everyone wants to beat you, but at the same time it’s very exciting,” said Anderson, who has been coaching for eight years with Ed McNamee.

Anderson said that it was a close match— winning by only 24 points.

“We’ve never been this close – this year was a well-rounded effort from the whole team. The depth made the difference,” she said. “They put in a lot of hours.”

When the girls captured their fourth consecutive state title, emotions filled the YMCA pool in Butte on Feb. 12. The Great Falls swim teams started chanting “CMR,” and celebrated by jumping into the pool together. CMR is only the second Montana girls team to win four consecutive state titles. The other was Bozeman High between 1983-86.

“I bawled this time,” Anderson said. “This one was special.”

It was special to Anderson because she and McNamee, along with seniors Madisen and Dakota Sechena, celebrated all four wins together.

Shelby Sechena, a sophomore, was the only CMR swimmer to place first in an event, — the 500 freestyle.

Sechena said that she was excited that she placed first; it was her official personal best for the season.

She said she puts in a lot of work, and “concentration.” She has been swimming for 10 years, practicing the sport in the off season, and daily during the season, and plans to do the same to prepare for state in 2012.

This state meet was also special to her.

“(When GFH chanted CMR with us) it meant a lot,” she said. “It was more than a one-team effort. It was cool because my sisters were part of all four (state titles). I was part of two with them.”

Like Sechena, sophomore Taylor Varner enjoyed being on varsity this year.

 “It is awesome to be part of such a great team, and it is inspiring to be with such great swimmers,” said Varner, who swims the 200 IM and the 100 fly.

Varner swam for three years when she was younger, and she said she started again because of her sister, Megan.

“I started swimming because I wanted to be like my sister and she was a swimmer,” Varner said. “I enjoy that with swimmers you truly are a family. If you’re not having a good day you know that your team will make it better.”

One thing that Varner will remember about this year is the positive attitude everyone has.

“My favorite part about swimming is the coaches and the great attitude everyone has all the time,” she said. “Even if people are better swimmers than you they still treat you like you are just as good as them, and you’re just as important to the team.”

Varner also has plans to capture another state title next year

Despite of the boys’ fifth place finish, senior Joseph Parker enjoyed the season

“I felt really good about it,” Parker said.

The boys only had four qualifiers, so to score as many points as they did was a great effort, he said.

Parker, who swims the 100 backstroke and the 100 freestyle, said this year wasn’t simply about swimming.

“It wasn’t swimming that was the main part this year,” said Parker, who plans on attending Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma Wash., in the fall. “It’s just about being together as a family and being supportive of each other.”

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Girls swimming captures fourth state title, boys take fifth place