Lake Monsters Kick Off Winter Season Nov. 12

LakeMonster-Dragon-FINALIs your child a monster? If not, he or she should be!

The Lake Monsters Swim Team’s inaugural season starts on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Join NOW if you want to be a part of something special. The team’s kick-off meeting was a great success on Sunday, Oct. 27, with over 80 people in attendance, and kids are already sporting LAKE Monsters gear!

Learn all about the monsters on the team’s new website:, and read on for the Lake County Leader’s latest news story about the new team.

Story by Mark Robertson, Lake County Leader Sports

The Lake Monsters are a reality.

They’re not exactly the mythical creatures roaming the depths of Flathead Lake, but the newly formed USA Swimming team at the Mission Valley Aquatic Center will assume that moniker from this point forward, coach Mark Johnston announced at an interest meeting on Oct. 27.

The team will range in age from 6 years old to adults, and Johnston hopes swimmers will be able to swim in USA Swimming-sanctioned meets as soon as December.

Johnston admitted at the meeting that he really doesn’t know what to expect in the team’s formative seasons.

“It’s new for everybody,” he said. “It’s a long process. It’s going to take awhile.”

Johnston is not by any means lacking in experience when it comes to starting a swim team from scratch, however. He and his wife, Dana, the team’s co-coach, started a team at a similar facility in Denver that grew to more than 100 members strong.

The Lake Monsters will begin practice officially on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

The Johnstons are excited about the possibilities presented by the advent of a USA Swimming program—the same outfit that sanctions the United States Olympic teams—in the Mission Valley, including the opportunities for growing Montana High School Association swimming and open water swimming in Flathead Lake itself.

“Because of Flathead Lake, there’s an opportunity to get a world-class event,” Mark Johnston said. “And it would all channel through the Lake Monsters team.”

Johnston has designs on eventually sponsoring some sort of length-of-the-lake open-water race seen in places like Lake Mead, Nev. and Monterey Bay, Calif.

High-school sanctioned swimming will not happen this year, but Johnston is excited about the opportunities of working with the valley’s school districts to set up prep teams for the 2014-2015 school year.

As for the club portion that begins next month, Johnston hopes to run sessions that coincide with high school athletic seasons so as to encourage seasonal participation rather than “stealing” kids away from sports like soccer or basketball.

Johnston also made clear that you don’t have to be a member of the Lake Monsters to swim at the newly built facility atop Polson Hill.

“We don’t want to say, ‘It’s either swim team or you’re out,’” he said.

To be a member of the swim team, however, you must also be have a membership to the aquatic center.

For those interested in the swim team, the MVAC has set up a website ( that outlines practice schedules, financial obligations and other information regarding Lake Monsters and USA Swimming at large.

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Mission Valley Aquatic Center
P.O. Box 774
Polson, Montana 59860

(406) 883-4567