May 18, 2020
Montana Swimming is proud to announce Aja Simshaw of the LAKE Monsters in Polson and Bennett Apostol of the Billings YMCA Swim Team were named the 2020 Montana Swimming Sportspersons of the year.
Aja's coach Shayna Swanson nominated her listing Aja's many outstanding qualities including her willingness to help coach, work with younger team members, cheer for teammates at meets and serve as a strong leader for the team. Over Aja's swim career she has missed only a handful of practices and is always willing and able to lend a helping hand.
Bennett has always been a kind person and has been in the game for awhile. His commitment to improving his technique has brought him a long way. After Kyler Gappa departed for college Bennett stepped up becoming the leader for the team.
For the coaches who know Bennett know that if he has a question about his technique for any stroke he will walk up to a coach who doesn’t have a swimmer in the water and talk to them. For swimmers he's competing against in a race, he would have a friendly conversation and then wish them good luck as their heat was about to get on the blocks.
In Bennett’s time with the YMCA and the Billings Central Rams High School swim team he helped the Rams secure back to back state titles. He helped the Billings YMCA to 1st place in division three and division two at the YMCA Regionals. In 2018 Bennett represented Montana Swimming and the Seahawks at the Western Zone Diversity and Inclusion Camp in San Diego. Bennett was grateful for the opportunity and returned to Montana with many different ideas he hoped to implement.
Bennett will attend Marquette University Honors College this fall to study mathematics and data science and will swim on their club team.
Nominated by teammate and Montana Swimming athlete representative O'Shay Birdinground, O'Shay stated he stands behind Bennett Apostol as he is an extremely kind human being and he gives it his all at practices. Bennett is an exceptional leader and has mentored and always supported younger athletes.
Congratulations Aja and Bennett!