Butte High senior Jake Bentley’s state championship in the boys’ 500-yard freestyle led a strong Bulldogs showing on Saturday at the State Swimming Meet in Great Falls.

Bentley capped his career in dominant fashion in the 500 free, posting a winning time of 4 minutes, 55.44 seconds. The mark didn’t quite match his school-record of 4:54.06 from qualifying on Friday, but it didn’t need to. He finished more than 3 seconds ahead of second-place Jacob Butler of Missoula Hellgate.

Bentley also added a third-place showing in the boys’ 200 free, posting a time of 1:48.06 to break his own school record. Billings Senior’s Ethan Harder won the race in 1:43.04, with Hellgate’s Dylan Faust edging out Bentley for second.

“Bentley ended his high school career with great swims,” Butte High coach Lynn Shrader said. “(He had) school records and a state title.”

Bentley also led the Bulldogs’ 400 freestyle relay team – along with Zach Johnson, Trevor Komm and Kyle Komm – that finished fourth in 3:34.46. Hellgate won the event in 3:35.68.

The same Butte High All-State group took sixth in the 200 free relay, which Hellgate again won in 1:32.16.

Hellgate swept the team titles in convincing fashion. It held off the Bozeman girls, 338-214, and the Bozeman boys, 289-149, for top honors. The Knights finished with wins in 14 events, including all six relay races.

Bentley helped the Bulldog boys wrap up in sixth with 76 team points, while the Butte High girls were 13th with four points.

In consolation races, Johnson took eighth in the 50 free and 10th in the 100 free to cap an impressive freshman season.

“I am looking forward to Zach's growth over the next 3 years,” Shrader said.

The Butte High girls’ 400 freestyle relay team trimmed another 2 seconds off its best time to end its weekend in 12th. The team included four sophomores in Cynthia Trudgeon, Sidney Christie, Kennedi Ferriter and Elsie Dickerson.

“I am so proud of all the swimmers, they worked hard all year and supported each other,” Shrader said. “I will miss my seniors.”

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