|Master Swimmer, 72in x 108in x 36in, bronze, concrete and glass, 2016, property of City of Fort Collins, CO
Front page article that came out near my hometown in Winters, CA- December 31, 2015
Colorado statue modeled after Winters High School graduate
Former Winters resident and public art sculptor Sutton Betti completed a bronze monument titled “Master Swimmer” for an ice and aquatics facility in northern Colorado. The statue was modeled after the artist’s brother Morgan Fjord, a 2009 Winters High School graduate and swimmer, following his first Full Ironman competition in 2014 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The sculpture project unofficially began in September 2014 after Betti was contacted by a Fort Collins, CO resident and former Colorado State University professor Dr. George Thornton. A man who at the age of 73 tried to set a Guinness World Record as the oldest person to swim the English Channel on June 24, 2013. Unfortunately hypothermia set in half way through and Thornton had to halt his swim after 9 hours, 18 minutes, and 52 seconds in the 57-degree water.
Dedicated to swimming and to the city of Fort Collins pool and ice facility where he trains at, Thornton decided that he would like to commission and donate a large scale bronze statue. Fortunately for Dr. Thornton Colorado is home to many of the nations most accomplished bronze sculptors and he had, at his fingertips, a “pool” of artists to choose from. After a few interviews he chose Colorado resident and former California native Sutton Betti. Betti had accomplished several large scale monuments and a contract was made between Thornton, the city of Fort Collins and the artist in 2015.
The monument consists of a 200 pound bronze swimmer that is reinforced with 150 pounds of stainless steel spanning the length of the bronze statue and is held up by two large reinforced concrete columns, each weighing 1000 pounds each. On top of each column is 3/4″ thick turquoise colored glass that is designed to indicate the level of the water in relation to the swimmer and two concrete caps.
The statue is located in front of Edora Pool Ice Center, known as EPIC, which is the regions premier ice and aquatics facility with an indoor 50-meter x 25-yard pool and two indoor 200′ x 85′ ice surfaces.
“This was a wonderful project to have been involved in and I couldn’t be happier with how well the sculpture turned out. Since I was given so much freedom in design, I wanted my brother to be the model” said the artist.
The statue took eight months to create and was installed on December 9. The total budget for the project was $40,000 paid for by the Thornton Family Foundation. Helping with the installation is Winters resident and the artist’s mother Carolyn Fjord.