MISSOULA — The State AA swimming meet might just look a little different this season.
Missoula Hellgate has long been the standard bearer for high school swimming in the state of Montana, sweeping the girls and boys titles each of the past six seasons. But with six boys and three girls that combined for nine individual titles for the Knights last year now gone, there will be plenty of different faces at the top of the podium.
All three Missoula-area teams are led by Morgan Zimmer, who is in her first year of taking over for after replacing legendary swim coach Helen Houlihan.
While change does seem to be the theme heading into the weekend’s state meet, there are a few familiar faces for Sentinel, Hellgate and Big Sky-Loyola who could pick up some hardware this weekend.
Bella Seagrave is likely the name most swimming fans in the Garden City will recognize. At the 2019 state swim meet, the now-senior Hellgate swimmer was part of the first-place 200 medley relay and finished second in the 200 IM.
She also recently signed with NCAA Division-I Long Island University Brooklyn.
“It’s really great, it makes training really easy because I can just go for the meets and what I want to do instead of worrying about what someone else wants to see from me,” Seagrave said during her signing day ceremony.
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She currently owns a top-five time in the state in four different events (200 freestyle, 500 free, 100 breaststroke, 200 IM) and will be a critical points scorer for Hellgate.
The Knights will also look to get contributions from Avery Maxwell and Dane Becker. Last season Maxwell took third in the girls 50 free, fourth in the 200 free and was part of Hellgate’s state champion 200 free relay.
Becker, meanwhile, is currently 10th in the state in the 100 fly with a time of 55.74 and ranks No. 16 in the 50 free.
Sentinel could be in for a big weekend, especially on the boys side. Jackson Moe, a sophomore, ranks in the top 10 in eight different events, including the second-best time in the state in the 100 backstroke.
The Spartans, in fact, own two of the top-three times in the 100 back, with Bremer Deaton hitting a time of 54.43 earlier this season to rank second. Deaton was fifth in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 back at the state meet last year.
Moe finished in the top six of three events at state as a freshman, including third in the 200 free.
Ellie Gashwiler will be one of the main sources of points for the Spartan girls, as she has top-10 times in four different events. Her 50 free mark of 25.61 ranks seventh in the state and she took second in the event a year ago.
Addyson Lewis will try to bring some hardware to west Missoula, as the Big Sky standout freshman currently owns the third-best girls 50 free time (24.84) and ranks eighth in the 100 free. On the boys side, Jorgen Midboe and Michael Parkay will look to score points for the Eagles.
The state swimming meet will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday and will run through Saturday at Great Falls High School.
Jordan Hansen covers a bunch of stuff for the Missoulian and 406 Sports. Shout at him on Twitter @jordyhansen or shoot him an email at Jordan.Hansen@406mtsports.com