Nine swimmers from The Wave’s Coach on Deck swimming group competed in the 2017 Montana Masters State Championship held in Kalispell on March 24, 25 and 26.
Jean Fisher, 65, and Susanne Chapman, 58, competed in the mile swim on the first day of competition. It was Fisher’s first swim meet and Chapman’s first swim meet after battling back from a stroke that nearly took her life six years ago.
The next two days were filled with events ranging in distance and strokes, and seven more swimmers joined in on the fun — Jim Flint, 37; Terry Hensley, 54; Nancy Schuber, 61; Kellsey Perkins, 42; Allison Thomas, 47; Samuel Neff, 81; and Glenn DeHekker, 61.
There were some outstanding swims. Flint took first in the 200 free, 200 back, 50 free and 500 free for men aged 35-39. Hensley took first in the 100 breaststroke, 50 fly, 50 back and 50 free for men aged 50-54. Perkins took first in all of her three events for women aged 40-44 — 100 back, 50 back and 500 free.
DeHekker took first in the men age 60-64 category in the 50 fly, 100 fly and 100 Individual Medley. Neff took first in the men aged 80-84 category in the 200 free.
Schuber took first, and now holds the Montana record in each of her five swims in the women aged 60-64 category — 50 breaststroke, 200 Individual Medley, 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, and 100 Individual Medley.
Thomas dropped time in each of her events and placed second in a competitive field of women aged 45-49 in the 500 free.
Coach Carrie Jacobs says the state meet held once a year is a chance for swimmers of all abilities and ages to compete and have fun.
“It is, in essence, what adult swimming is all about,” Jacobs said. “It’s incredible to see swimmers come together and compete from across the state and surrounding region who are passionate about the sport. You really get to witness the power of swimming. Whether you’re 18, or 108, swimming provides individuals with a wide array of health benefits and we’re lucky to have a group here in Whitefish who are clearly reaping those benefits! We have an amazing group at The Wave with swimmers from a variety of swimming backgrounds, a variety of abilities, who all have the same goal in mind: have fun, get a great workout and improve their stroke. This meet, which was the first for some, and the first in many years for others, was a chance to test out their abilities and to show everyone that they still have what it takes to earn a top spot, no matter your age. It’s exciting to witness as a coach!”
The Coach on Deck adult swimming group at the Wave is open to all swimmers aged 18 years and older. Participants must be a Wave member, but the group is free of charge to attend. Practices are held Monday and Wednesday mornings at 6 a.m., and Friday at 8:05 a.m.
The group is comprised of all abilities, those who swim for fitness, those who want to continue to compete in the sport, and triathletes looking to improve the swim portion of their race.