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Swimmers make a splash for kids

BIG ARM – Taking a plunge in Flathead Lake is an ideal summer activity and what better way to spend a warm summer weekend than going for a swim while supporting a worthy charitable cause.

More than 60 swimmers hit the water during the Annual Flathead Lake Swim Series held at the Big Arm State Park on the West Shore of Flathead Lake on July 20-22.

Money raised from entrance fees supports the Enduring Waves Foundation, a nonprofit that assists Montana children with various medical expenses. 

“This is our fifth annual swim series and all the profit from these events goes to helping families with children with severe medical problems,” foundation board member Katie Schulz said. “Of course, the there is always cost that insurance doesn’t cover. So that’s kind of where we come in to try and help the families with stuff insurance doesn’t cover when they are already going through a difficult time.”

Schulz proceeded to explain that the Enduring Waves Foundation has been helping children since 2010 and has even helped a couple of families in Polson and Ronan.

“Sometimes we get calls from families who just need a little something,” Schulz said. “One time we got a little puppy for a girl who was going through some tough times. She wanted a puppy and the family was like we really can’t. We can. So, we bought her a puppy along with some dog food and toys. It’s just kind of a neat thing to be able to do.”

Swimmers could participate in a half-mile swim, single-mile swim, 5K swim or the mammoth 10K swim of the lake. Some of the more adventurous swimmers pitted themselves against a test of endurance and swam in all four events.

Not only was this swim a fundraiser, it was also an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.

Bozeman resident Sally Silpher, who swam in all four events, said she enjoyed the venue.

“There is not a lot of lake swimming in Montana,” Silpher said. “Just to get in the water and be outside. This is a beautiful place.”

The first three swimmers to come out of the water after swimming a mile were Phillip Luebke with a time of 00:22:58.5, Teri Moen and Lura Wilhelm. 

Luebke also won the half mile with a swim time of 11:21.2 followed by Charlie Simpson and Jennifer Huffman. 

In Saturday’s 10K, Luebke finished first with a time of  02:40:39.3. Moen placed second followed by Sara Skoff.

On Sunday, finishing first in the 5K was Huffman with a time of 01:07:35.9 followed by Charles Henry in second and Mark Johnston in third.

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