KALISPELL -- From the season's first splash on Saturday, the Missoula Hellgate swimmers showed why they're defending state champions.
The Knights won 16 of the meet's 22 races, including both the boys' and girls' relays at the Summit pool in Kalispell. The Hellgate girls scored 648 points, topping Great Falls Russell, in second, by over 200 points. Missoula Sentinel finished third, just topping the Kalispell Glacier girls, 243-237.
Hellgate's boys beat CMR, 527-304, and Darragh Mahns won twice for the Knights.
Mahns touched the wall first in the 50-yard freestyle, clocking in at 22.37 seconds. His teammates, Finnian Westenfelder and Brendon Campbell, fell in behind Mahns for second and third, respectively.
Mahns again edged his teammate in the 500 freestyle. He beat Sawyer Keyes by .3 seconds in the long race, 5:01.02-5:01.32.
On the girls' side, All-American swimmer Katharine Berkoff won the 100-yard backstroke and the 50 free for Hellgate. Lydia Amon finished first in the 100 freestyle for the Knights and Mari Rizzuto took the 100 butterfly.
Missoula Sentinel's Keidon Reynolds clocked in first in the girls' 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:16.50. Columbia Falls' Colton Babcock took the top time in the boys' 200 IM and 100 butterfly. Kalispell Glacier's Nate Burnham was a two-time winner, too, taking the 100 and 200 freestyle.