The Fairfield Sailfish swim team won their fifth straight state swimming championship trophy in the Class C division at the state meet held Aug. 3 and 4 in Sidney.
The Sailfish competed in the state swim meet knowing even though the team had the fewest number of members in the 21-team federation, they still had a chance at a state title. At the Western and Eastern Divisionals the weekend before, the 21 teams were divided into classes based on the number of points earned at the divisional meet, explained Fairfield coach Beth McWilliams. The Fairfield team competed for the Class C State trophy against Choteau, Cut Bank, Plains and Malta.
“Each Sailfish demonstrated the strength of the small but mighty team and had a key role in earning the state trophy,” McWilliams said.
“Remi Gough demonstrated Fairfield’s might with strong swims in the IM, breaststroke and backstroke,” the coach said. “In the IM, Remi took one second off his previous best time to place sixth and give the team its first seven points of the meet. He also had excellent swims in the breast both Saturday and Sunday, taking a total of three seconds off his best time to place seventh.
Kolt Gough also posted his personal best time in the 50 backstroke by taking more than a second off with smooth stroking and strong kicking. Although Kolt did not qualify for any Sunday swims, the improvement he has shown in stroke technique and speed make Fairfield coaches excited to see what the future holds for this promising young swimmer.
“Riley Gough had swims that wowed the coaches and left them shaking their heads in amazement,” McWilliams said. Swimming as an under-year in the 11-12 age group, Riley not only managed to drop time on Saturday and Sunday in all three of her races (a difficult feat to do), but she also swam a strong anchor leg on the 13-14 girls medley relay team that took second.
Other amazing races included the 200 IM where she dropped more than four seconds off her previous best time and was named 200 IM state champion. Taking one and a half seconds off her seed time on Saturday wasn’t enough for her in her fly race; she bested that time by an additional half second on Sunday, earning her a time that rivals even the top 13-14 year old girls. That swim placed her first in her age group and awarded her the title of 11-12 girls 50 fly state champion. It also solidified her winning the high point award for 11-12 girls.
Toryn Martinez proved this weekend why she is the queen of the backstroke, McWilliams said. A powerful pull and kick combined with a turn that even 15-19 year old girls envy, Toryn swam her best time ever by more than a second to become the 11-12 girls Backstroke State Champion. She also posted personal best times both Saturday and Sunday in all of her races. In her freestyle races, Toryn took a total of two seconds off her 100 free to finish third and an eye-popping five and half seconds off her 200 free to take fourth.
All-around versatile swimmer Tana Gough also showed her might this weekend, McWilliams said. An impressive IM race in which she took five seconds off her personal best helped her place a strong second. Known also for her powerful butterfly, Tana became the 13-14 50 butterfly state champion by besting the field of flyers by more than a second.
“The 100 fly is a race most swimmers run away from but Tana is always ready for a challenge,” McWilliams said. This weekend she excelled in the four-length race, posting a best time by one and a half seconds and finishing in a strong second place.
Brooke McWilliams also played an instrumental role in the team’s state championship win. She showed grit and determination especially in the 200 free, a race she started swimming late into the season. Staying with the field and holding strong, Brooke took two and a half seconds off her personal best. She also had super breaststroke swims. In the 13-14 girls medley relay, Brooke closed the gap during her breaststroke leg, setting the relay team up for a third place finish. In her individual breaststroke event, Brooke posted a personal best time on Saturday and swam to a strong fifth place finish on Sunday.
For senior swimmer Alexis McWilliams, this weekend was her last meet of her summer swim league career. Over the 10 years she has swum with the team, Alexis has proven to be a fierce competitor in the water, Coach McWilliams aid. “Out of the water, she is one of the most respected and loved competitors and is a role model for winning with humility and losing with grace.”
She demonstrated her fierceness this weekend in all of her races. In her 200 IM, she improved her personal best time by over five seconds. With strong fly and backstroke legs of the race, Alexis caught her opponent on the breaststroke leg and came on strong in the freestyle, barely missing out on second place by .7 of a second. Also known for a breaststroke that is a combination of beauty and strength and that has her winning races by half a length, Alexis continued her reign of domination by becoming the 15-19 breaststroke state champion for the third straight year in a row and for the sixth time in the past 10 years. She also broke the three-year old pool record in the breast by almost three seconds.
“The Fairfield Sailfish for showing swimmers across the league that teams with small numbers of swimmers can out-muscle those that have six or more times as many swimmers,” McWilliams said. “The team members congratulate the Choteau swim team for taking second in Class C.”
Remi Gough: 6. 100 IM; 11. 25 breast; 11. 25 back.
Kolt Gough: 19. 50 back; 20. 50 breast.
Riley Gough: 11-12, 200 IM state champion; 11-12, 50 butterfly state champion; 3. 50 back; 3. 13-14 girls medley relay; 11-12 girls’ high point award
Martinez: 11-12 backstroke state champion; 3. 100 free; 4. 200 free; 3. 13-14 girls medley relay.
T. Gough: 13-14 girls 50 butterfly state champion; 2. 200 IM; 2. 100 fly; 3. 13-14 girls medley relay.
B. McWilliams: 5. 100 breast; 15. 200 free; 21. 100 free; 3. 13-14 girls medley relay.
A. McWilliams: 15-19 girls’ 100 breaststroke state champion and pool record; 3. 200 IM; 4. 100 free.