Photo Array

2008 Montana Masters Swimming Championships

Photo Array Courtesy BOZE Photographer Lawrence Sampson!

Two Triathletes Team Up, Molly & Furry on the 500 Free

Two Triathletes Team Up, Molly Hayes & Furry Fulton on the 500 Free

Zack Jay Cranking to a 5:30.00 Finish in the 500 Free

Zack Jay Cranking to a Sizzling 5:30.00 Finish in the 500 Free

Lee Cook Completes the Sweep, Obliterates 3 Breaststroke State Records

Lee Cook Completes the Sweep, Obliterates 3 Breaststroke State Records


Bozeman Masters Swim Club Finishes Strong

The following article was reprinted with the permission of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

March 31, 2008


By MIKE KIEFER Chronicle Sports Writer

Bozeman Masters Swim Club Finishes Strong


Elizabeth Gilje swims the backstroke in the Mixed 200-yard IM Sunday afternoon during the Montana Masters Swimming Championships at Montana State University.

Michael Dougherty was not about to let fatigue get the better of bragging rights in the waning hours of the Montana Masters short-course swimming championship on Sunday.

“I’m doing this for the high points,” Michael Dougherty said before the 1650-yard freestyle, his 10th event of the weekend. “I’m not going to let Dan Behr beat me.”

Dougherty finished his mile swim in a nearly empty Montana State University’s Hosaeus Pool, his legs cramping through the last 100 yards, but it didn’t matter. He’d tied Behr, who also owned his age group, with a perfect 70 points.

Suffice to say, Bozeman competed with itself for most of the weekend at the swimming championships. With its overwhelming numbers advantage, Bozeman outscored second-place Helena Masters by 1,357 points.

But that was hardly mentioned in the two-day competition, which featured 32 new state short-course records from a field of 102 swimmers.

“I think people get a little intimidated when they think about Masters,” said Helena coach Anne Gilbert. “They think it’s like the Olympics.”

But as 63-year-old Behr said, you get to swim what you want, “and then you get to have a beer afterwards.” At the awards banquet at the Garage restaurant, Behr treated all the Bozeman swimmers that met his challenge of six events entered, one of which had to feature butterfly.

Sunday’s highlights included the performance of 29-year-old Bozeman native Lee Cook, who finished with three new records in the breaststroke events. She was outdone only by 86-year-old Charlotte Sanddal of Helena who finished the weekend with six records.

Sunday finished with relays and the mile, capping the short-course season for a Bozeman team celebrating meteoric growth in addition to its back-to-back state team championships.

On the other end of the spectrum was the Prairie Masters Swim Team, which traveled half a day from Pierre, S.D., to attend an event where they would earn no points, only competitive experience.

The Bozeman and Pierre teams compared notes on the Nike Grant, a kind of start-up capital for Masters teams, which Bozeman received in 2005 and was the foundation for the last three years. The grant included a visit from Olympian Aaron Peirsol and a write-up in the national Masters magazine.

From there, Bozeman has boosted its numbers to the point that it outnumbers the combined rosters of the rest of the teams in the state.

For the Bozeman team, one season segues into the next with open-water, triathlon and long-course training beginning in the next week. The team uses most of Bozeman Swim Center’s 50-meter pool for pack swims to simulate the conditions of outdoor triathlon swimming.

This is the first year that the Bozeman club will feature its triathlon team.

Full meet results will be printed over the next two days in the Chronicle.

Mike Kiefer can be reached at and 582-2657.

2008 Montana Masters Swimming Championships Results!

Bozeman Masters Swim Club

Wow! What a Championships weekend! The Bozeman Masters Swim Club thanks all participants, supporters, officials, and sponsors for a wonderful event, all too numerous to mention, again. It’s late, so for brevity, below is a summary of the final team standings, a product of Nancy Halstrom’s tireless efforts. She’s resting now and deserves it.

If you click on the link below, you’ll find a .pdf file of the final results. All 49 pages. It’s complete and basically self explanatory. Individual results are first. Team standings are on the last page. The individual results for our new friends from South Dakota are marked by an “x” to denote their “exhibition” classification, as their points do not qualify for the Montana Masters Swimming Championships. Sorry! State record times are marked by an (*). On a preliminary basis, there are 37 new records for the women, and only 2 for the guys! What is up with that?

That’s all from the MSU Pool. Thanks for attending, and the Club hopes to see you at the pool again real soon. Have a great day!

Combined Team Scores
1. Bozeman Masters 1803
2. Helena Masters 446
3. Canyons A.C. of Hamilton 415
4. Missoula Masters 120
5. Great Falls Master 42
5. Billings Masters 42
5. Kalispell Masters 42
8. Troy Masters 35
9. Havre Masters 17
10. Dillon Masters 16
Women – Team Rankings
1. Bozeman Masters 816
2. Helena Masters 344
3. Canyons A.C. of Hamilton 275
4. Missoula Masters 60
5. Billings Masters 42
5. Kalispell Masters 42
7. Troy Masters 35
Men – Team Rankings
1. Bozeman Masters 925
2. Canyons A.C. of Hamilton 132
3. Helena Masters 90
4. Missoula Masters 60
5. Great Falls Master 42
6. Havre Masters 17
7. Dillon Masters 16

2008 Montana Masters Swimming Championships Final Results

For Montana Masters, It’s The Chance To Keep Swimming

The following article was reprinted with the permission of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

March 30, 2008

By MIKE KIEFER Chronicle Sports Writer

 For Montana Masters, It’s The Chance To Keep Swimming


Bozeman Masters swimmer Mary Robbins competes in the Mixed 200-yard Freestyle Saturday afternoon on the campus of Montana State University during the Montana Masters Swimming Championships.

Charlotte Sanddal never looks at the times. She’s just there to compete.

The 84-year-old Helena swimmer has been swimming in the state senior Olympics since she retired in 1993, but she rarely has a seed time. She has swum with the Masters swim clubs in Bozeman – where she likes the 50-meter pool – and Helena, where she lives.

Everyone who sees her stroke calls it graceful. The beauty transcended pure aesthetics at the short-course Masters swimming state championship on Saturday. The format guaranteed that Sanddal, the only swimmer in her age group, scored the most points of the day.

This Masters state champion sells that line about “just being happy to be here.”

“It’s just to be able to do it,” she said.

You don’t have to drive 680 miles to enjoy competition, but it seemed Saturday that if you had, it was all the sweeter. Jeff and Jenny Hodges put in 12 hours in the car along with six swimmers from Pierre, S.D., to attend the event, which they heard about almost by accident.

“It was in our junk e-mail box,” Jeff Hodges said. “I never thought that I’d swim competitively after college.”

That is not to say you need to leave college to swim with the Masters.

Between winning the 400-yard individual medley and the 50-yard butterfly, 21-year-old Brian Christiansen had to run back to check on a film class assignment that he had spent most of Friday night building. He was looking a little haggard after the race.

“It kind of hurt,” Christiansen said about the 400. “It used to be one of my favorite events, but I haven’t been training a lot. This year, I just wasn’t doing a lot of skiing and I had to do something than school.”

Christiansen hardly minds being one of the few 20-somethings on a club that has traditionally trended toward those in their 30s and 40s.

“I had to come and swim with my Masters teammates,” said Christiansen, who grew up swimming with a club and high school teams in Salt Lake City, which he called considerably less easy-going. “It’s so fun with the Masters. Everyone’s so happy.”

Last year, Bozeman played host to this event default, when a boiler at the Carroll College pool “blew up,” nearly forcing the meet’s cancellation.

“I was ready to do it,” Helena Masters coach Anne Gilbert said. “I’m a triathlete, so if I can’t swim, I’ll go for a bike ride. But the people down here in Bozeman were like ‘what?’ It’s a great club here.”

Hamilton’s newly formed Canyons A.C. club brought 19 swimmers who have trained in a pool with only three lanes, where there are no starting blocks and no diving allowed.

The Canyons swimmers range of experience runs from swimmers who couldn’t finish a lap just months to Beth Fischer, who swam for the University of Colorado, graduating in 1983.

Fischer says she has to avoid comparing her times today with those of her college years, but she says it’s nice to have what she calls “restart value.”

Many of the swimmers competing Saturday have their eye on open-water swimming and the triathlon season, fast approaching with the Grizzly sprint-distance triathlon in Missoula just weeks away.

That’s why many well-known names n Matt Guzik, the Wirth brothers, Molly Hayes n were getting a good baseline for their swim leg.

“It’s the most technical leg,” Gruzik said.

Whether swimming competitively for the first time or trying to regain some competitive zest from past lives, the Masters swim championships were mostly about good spirit.

“People here are just exceptional,” Sanddal said. “They’re friendly. It’s still a competition but they do it in such a positive way.”

Mike Kiefer is at and at 582-2657.

Two Lens, One Vision


Working with one of our sponsors, Catch & Release Graphics, the Bozeman Masters Swim Club had fun developing the visuals for the 2008 Montana Masters Swimming Championships. If you’ll look closely at our “Just Swim Baby” poster child for the Championships (below), you’ll see “Goggle Boy” sporting two different lens. These lens actually represent the logo for the Bozeman Masters Swim Club and a proposed logo design for Montana Masters Swimming (above). Symbolically, these two lens, as one swim goggle, represent the spirit of partnership and a shared vision for United States Masters Swimming in Montana. The Bozeman Masters Swim Club is presenting this “lens logo” design, the snow-capped, double “MM”, to Montana Masters Swimming, as a memento of the 2008 Montana Masters Swimming Championships. The Club is hopeful that Montana Masters Swimmers like the “Goggle Boy” makeover and find many lasting, visible uses for its new identity. Moreover, the Bozeman Masters encourage other Montana Masters regions, clubs, or workout groups to join this lens connection. Demonstrate your support for Montana Masters Swimming and strengthen the bond between Masters swimmers across the state. Develop a “lens logo” for your group. Together, we can bring Montana Masters Swimming into focus!


Masters Club Has Arrived

The following article was reprinted with the permission of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

March 28, 2008

Defending its state title, Team Bozeman shows off its growth

Chronicle Sports Writer

 Masters Club Has Arrived 

Chris Depner is followed by Art Thompson during a masters swimming practice Thursday evening at the Bozeman Swim Center.


At the Hosaeus Pool on Montana State’s campus, there are more coaches than lanes during the two weekly Bozeman Masters club practices.

The newly renovated pool overflows with team swimmers, 20-something college students and octogenarians, beginners and former collegiate athletes, transplants and natives of Bozeman.

With all this abundance, sometimes Jen Masquelier just has to sit back and remember as her team hosts the Montana Masters State short-course championship, Saturday and Sunday.

She can easily recall the days before the MSU and Bozeman Masters clubs were consolidated. She also remembers the days before Nike’s Grant and Olympian Aaron Peirsol’s clinic in 2005.

That’s when one guaranteed practice spot was victory.

“We’re not exactly a starter team anymore,” said Masquelier, a longtime coach of the program that has expanded drastically in the last few years. Now the team has sponsorships, a dry-land weight program, and also plenty of parties.

“We want to make it fun,” Masquelier said.

Last year, Bozeman hosted this meet by default, taking over for Helena when there was a facility problem. Hosaeus plays host again, now ensconced in the impressive digs of a remodeled athletic center.

Bozeman hopes to repeat as the Masters state team champion this year, flexing the point-scoring muscle of its sheer numbers. Ninety-one swimmers, including 16 from South Dakota, will compete in the championships. With 48 swimmers competing, Bozeman outdistances the second-largest team, Missoula-Bitteroot, by 26 competitors.

“I’m impressed with how much they’ve grown here,” said Jeff Bahr, an MSU sophomore from Seattle whose team back home paid for him to join Bozeman’s club.

Masquelier and her co-coaches (there are nine) say that their roster is evenly divided between competitive swimmers, triathletes and recreational lap swimmers, all interested in gaining experience and the group dynamics. The triathletes have also formed an offshoot club under the umbrella of the Masters team.

Masters swimming consists of any willing participant, regardless of experience, who is no longer competing at the high school or college level. Bozeman’s club reflects that inclusive, big-tent philosophy.

The MSU chapter endured a tentative existence that came and went with the availability of Hosaeus. Newly remodeled, the 25-yard, short-course venue had been closed for long periods of the year twice during Lisa Lee’s four years as a physical chemistry graduate student.

She had to resurrect the club when the club’s leadership would turnover as students graduated. Now supported with the town’s team, the college club is growing and includes 16 swimmers.

The college in turn provides the pool, which helps the team with more practice times outside of the packed Bozeman Swim Center. It’s also a short-course venue that makes it easy to practice flip turns.

But the growth for Bozeman Masters is more than sheer numbers and new facilities.

The team now combines several strains of the town’s swimming tradition, which is strong for what’s usually flyover country in the sport. Along with the endurance athletes that love to cross train in the off-season, the high school team has won 20 out of the last 34 Class AA state swimming titles. Many former Hawks have found a home with the Masters program

Lee and Jake Cook met each other while swimming on the high school team. Both went on to swim in college and, having married, returned to Bozeman where they found the Masters program eager for their experience. Both are now coaches.

“It gives us a chance to swim,” Lee said about the volunteers that develop workouts and teach stroke technique. “We also do some in-water coaching.”

Elizabeth Gilje also is a former Hawk, who went on to swim at Concordia (Minn.) College. She was happy to be trying out her new swim cap, a state championship gift from her father, who is also a member of the team.

Gilje says she didn’t struggle with the burnout typical of high school and college swimmers to join up. This weekend she’ll serve as the record keeper.

“I love it here,” she said.

Championships — Parking

Participants and visitors for the 2008 Montana Masters Championships can park in any campus lot this weekend, understanding that the following parking lot areas and parking spaces are off-limits and subject to 24/7 enforcement:  24-hour reserved, 30-minute zones, disabled person, red or yellow zones, service drives, service parking, and loading zones.  Participants and visitors do not need to register their vehicle or obtain a parking permit.  For the swimming events, the closest parking lot to the MSU Pool (located in the Hosaeus Fitness Center) is at the southeast corner of 11th and Grant Streets.  That’s parking lot #14 on the attached diagram.  Entry to the Fitness Center and the MSU Pool is via the Fitness Center main entrance along Grant Street on the north side of the building, across from Romney Gym.  For the dinner buffet at the Stadium Club, parking is available to the west of the west-side stands of the MSU football stadium.  Access to the stadium is off Kagy Boulevard, directly south of the Fitness Center and the Fieldhouse.  Enter the stadium and take the elevator up to the Club!  Check out the following map for all the details, or click here to drill down further —

MSU Campus Parking Lot Map

Championships Psych Sheets — Preliminary!

100 Swimmers will be competing at the 2008 Montana Masters Swimming Championships!  We have not yet input approximately ten late entries.

Championships Team List — Preliminary

Championships Swimmer Entries by Team — Preliminary

Championships Psych Sheets — Preliminary