Missoula Hellgate dominates Class AA state swimming championships

MISSOULA – The Missoula Hellgate Knights went into Bozeman on Saturday looking for their sixth straight state title. And they did just that. Following their winning ways, the Knights dominated the lanes in both girls and boys races and relays.

“We have really fast people throughout all of the areas of swimming. Together we create this powerhouse and we’re able to kick it into gear,” said senior Aidan Condit. 

“We all worked really hard at practice and everybody put in the effort, everybody on the team, so I think it was a well-deserved win from everybody on the team,” said Sophomore Taylor Thorne.

Hellgate star Katharine Berkoff won three separate events on her way to a State AA record in the 100-yard backstroke and 100 freestyle.  Gabby Smart also took home the first place medal in two events. Both girls also helped the Knight’s girls win two out of the three relays.

And the boys weren’t too shabby either.

Sawyer Keyes took home gold in the 200 and 500 free. Finn Westenfelder took home the gold in the 100 and 50 free.

Both Keyes and Westenfelder lead the relay as well, as the boys broke a state record in the 200 medley relay.

However, as the Knights come off of this sixth title, they are at a point they haven’t been for a long time, losing a lot of seniors.

But both the underclassmen have seen what it takes to succeed and they want that title just as badly. 

“All the underclassmen have been talking this year. We really want to continue this legacy next year. We really want to try super hard to continue it,” said Thorne. 

In the past, we’ve seen the Knights rebound with a state title after losing seniors. We’ll see how these underclassmen fair.

Jack Ginsburg

Jack Ginsburg

Jack was born and raised in Walnut Creek, California. After skiing in Montana for a number of years he found his way to the University of Montana and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2017. Jack's passion for sports stems from playing a number of them and attending multiple sporting events in the Bay Area from the San Jose Sharks and the Golden State Warriors to the San Francisco Giants and the 49ers. He joined KAJ/KPAX-TV in January 2017 as a news reporter before moving to the weekend sports anchor. In his free time he enjoys playing golf, cooking, skiing and hiking with his bulldog Zeke. If you would like to submit a story or complain about the Golden State Warriors to Jack you can email him at jginsburg@kpax.com or find him on twitter @jackginsburg13 (https://twitter.com/jackginsburg13)
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