GREAT FALLS — Great Falls High and Great Falls CMR swim coach Ed McNamee always refers to his charges as ‘Four Teams, One Family,’ and it’s in that spirit that two CMR seniors approached him with an idea.

Ayana Gray and Morgan Duncan wanted to do something to help raise awareness and funds for teen mental health issues and decided the crosstown swim meet Thursday in Great Falls would be the perfect time after a trying week at both schools.

“I just think that so many teenagers suffer from this kind of stuff, and they’re just scared to talk about it,” said Duncan. “It’s hard for them to understand that they do have a place to go, so if we can help spread awareness it would mean a lot to us.”

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The two Rustlers sold shirts that read ‘Hope’ in Bison and Rustler colors, and nearly every member from all four teams sported temporary tattoos in the pool.

“Swimming is a family,” said Gray. “Like Mac always says, it’s one big family, no matter what school you’re from or what grade you’re in or if you’re a boy or girl. You can always find friends here, people to talk to. And that’s our goal, is to show you’re never alone.”

The conversation started in the pool, but the two hope it spreads into the high school hallways and beyond.

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