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Swimmers compete in Bozeman

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News from Mission Valley Aquatic Center

POLSON — Two new State Championship qualifiers and a national “A” time put the exclamation points on a successful weekend of competition when local swimmers Aja Simshaw, Sean Murphree, Mason Sloan, Chase Hansen, Hannah Simpson and Renni Shulte traveled to Bozeman for a three-day competition May 20-22.

In events ranging from the aerobically and mentally challenging 1,500-meter freestyle and 400-meter individual medley to the explosive, power-oriented 50-meter sprints, Lake Monster swimmers recorded personal bests across the board. Out of 38 total swims, 34 were lifetime bests, a stunning 90 percent rate.

Aja Simshaw and Sean Murphree each achieved times that qualify them to compete in upcoming state championship. Meanwhile, Hannah Simpson, who already has a bag-full of state qualifying times, raced to a national “A” time. This places her in the top 15 percent of all swimmers under age 10 in the nation.

Most satisfying of all, the swimmers not only went fast, but also demonstrated outstanding technique, pacing, and a gritty competitive drive.
"For all the hard work they put in, we expect them to get faster, but when athletes connect fitness with finesse and determination, special things begin to happen," explained Coach Randy Folker. He noted that with all young, successful athletes, it’s too early to be certain of long term outcomes. However, the Lake Monsters swimmers are doing all the things necessary to set themselves up for excellence in the pool, or in whichever sport they ultimately choose to pursue.

"We have a handful of kids who are very serious, but it’s hard to find a coach from any other sport who would discourage a young athlete from being a part-time or seasonal swimmer,” Folker said. “It’s just such a great way to build a child's aerobic capacity and muscle strength with essentially a zero chance of injury."
The Lake Monster's moved to their summer training schedule on June 6. Practices are now held Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. The team has a year-round open tryout policy and encourages athletes from other sports to use swimming as the basis of aerobic fitness, mental discipline, and team fun.

 As the saying goes around Mission Valley Aquatics, if you can only blow bubbles through a straw right now, they can help you improve. For information about joining swim team, swim lessons, or any of the many adult fitness programs at Mission Valley Aquatics, check out their website at or call the pool at 406-883-3483.


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