Water Craze

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Polson’s Claudia Hewston smiles as she crosses the finish line of the Polson Bay’s Water Daze one-mile swim race at Beottcher Park, Saturday.

POLSON — Swimmers from all over Northwestern Montana and even a few out-of-staters converged on Polson’s Boettcher Park for the 9th Annual Polson Bay’s Water Daze one-mile swim race to benefit Mission Valley Aquatics.

“Every year I get up here and tell you all how we are trying to build a swimming pool,” MVA project director Tana Seeley said to a crowd of water-logged swimmers Saturday afternoon. “This year, I get to say, ‘We are building a swimming pool.’”

The group has raised over $3 million to date and will begin construction on the first phase of the aquatic center this week. The new 18,187 square foot phase I floor plan has been scaled down slightly from the initial three-pool design. It features an eight-lane, 25-yard multi-purpose pool, locker rooms, offices and a meeting/birthday party room.

By pushing back the construction of the warm water therapy and water slide/shallow entry activity pools, MVA was able to cut costs to a manageable starting point, but hasn’t given up on its original vision.

“We are still in need of an additional $600,000 to complete this phase and will continue to raise funds with plans to add a therapy pool and other features to enhance the facility,” Seeley said. “The pledges are starting to come in; people are believing.”

Seventeen-year-old Gregory Rempe from Albuquerque, N.M. stole the show with a winning time of 24:15, beating the next competitor by more than a minute in the swim from the KwaTaqNuk to Boettcher Park. Missoula triathlete Jen Luebke won the women’s event in 25:44.

“The weather was perfect and the water was wonderful,” Seeley said. “Next year will be the 10th Water Daze and the year of the grand opening of the aquatic center so we hope to have many of you back for Polson Bay’s Water Daze on Aug. 4, 2012.”

After the swimmers loaded on the bus and went to the KwaTaqNuk, the Flathead Lakers conducted a volunteer Beach Sweep litter clean-up of Boettcher Park. Three teams combed the beach and grass, and parking area, recruiting onlookers to pitch in to help pick up litter.

“I’m happy to announce that Boettcher Park was much cleaner in 2011 than in 2010, when we first conducted the beach sweep,” clean-up organizer Christi Buffington said.

Cigarettes and filters topped the litter list with 519 collected. Food wrappers and containers were next with 64 and 19 straws, stirrers and popsicle sticks rounded out the top three categories.

“With the exception of cigarettes, fireworks and band-aids, we found significantly less litter in 2011,” Buffington said. “The total amount of trash in 2011 filled less than one trash bag and weighed 5.2 pounds. In 2010, we collected 13.3 pounds, which filled less than two bags.”

The Lakers will submit the data card to the Ocean Conservancy’s 2011 International Coastal Clean-up, which collects information from clean-ups conducted all over the world on freshwater and marine coastlines. Each year the conservancy compiles and analyzes the data and publishes the world’s only item-by-item, location-by-location snapshot of marine debris in an annual report.

Also at the event, the Lakers provided an educational display about Flathead Lake including threats to and solutions for maintaining clean water.

“Using an interactive watershed model, we demonstrated how fertilizers and other pollutants can run off into streams, lakes and groundwater,” Buffington said.

A group of volunteers collected water samples and tested for E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria, but would like to consult with the Lake County Environmental Health Department and re-test before releasing the results.


Pledges to MVA can be submitted online at www.mvaquatics.org or by downloading a pledge form online and mailing it in.


Mission Valley Aquatics

9th Annual Polson Bay’s Water Daze

August 6th, 2011

One Mile Swim Results

Women 12-19:

Clara Rempe 27:56

Sara Thane 32:33

Erika Nunlist 36:12

Aja Starkey 37:10

Mesa Starkey 39:37

Katie Gelber 44:31

Maggie Gleber 45:07

Claudia Hewston 54:42

Kayla Hallock 54:51

Taylor Sensen

Men 12-19:

Gregory Rempe 24:15

Kyle Hopkins 29:02

Caleb Bizzaro 32:37

Women 20-29:

Jen Luebke 25:44

Kyle Watson 27:11

Ali Brondson 29:44

Laura Waterman 30:56

Jessica Johnson 32:52

Hannah Lumpry 38:22

Erica Olson 40:58

Brittany Simonich 52:53

Men 20-29:

Ryan Payne 25:21

Jeff Cincoski 30:16

Kyle McClosky 42:34

Women 30-39:

Linsey Corbin 26:28

Deanna McElwee 36:05

Kimbery Maxwell 39:29

Heather Knutson 42:58

Carrie Smith 45:20

Mendy Estill 1:07:28

Men 30-39:

Luke Johnson 27:52

Women 40-49:

Tara Trotter 31:19

Susan Rempe 32:15

Holly Apple 34:24

Anna Marie Leafty 39:53

Ellen Parchen 43:45

Brenda Hanson 43:56

Kristin Jensen 50:56

Co Carew 55:21

Men 40-49:

Ted Burham 29:47

Greg Bremer 32:18

Fred Jarmen 38:36

Glenn Thane 50:39

Women 50-59:

Amy Mack 27:44

Natasha Westphal 31:28

Jessica Suess 35:54

Antara Croft 39:11

Adriana Saunier 39:23

Sue Furey 42:53

Valerie Hedquist 45:36

Candice Gash 48:48

Francie Lipp 1:10:06

Men 50-59:

Mark Comfort 26:51

Dale Wiseley 27:28

John Ehrichs 28:14

Mike Hamm 29:36

Kevin Detwiler 36:44

Stan Watkins 41:54

Bill Starkey 48:00

Tim Furey 48:34

Women 60+

Patti Waterman 36:18

Dee Cook 42:03

Barb Fortunate 42:21

Cheryl Ward 46:43

Men 60+

Jim Kuffel 33:03

Norman Fortunate 45:03

Owen McElwee charges the buoy during the Polson Bay’s Water Daze kids’ swim Saturday at Boettcher Park. Behind Owen, his mom, Deanna, and brother, Teague, work their way into the open water


Carson Stewart, Gabe Merganthaler, Keegan Brackey and Sydney Jensen line up with the older swimmers before the start of the kids’ swim.


Carson Stewart, of Polson, comes up for air during the kids' swim.

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