Thirty-one-year-old Jon Bird couldn’t have asked for a better result in his first attempt at the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim.
Bird was the first to cross the finish line Saturday with a time of 23 minutes and 36 seconds.
“This is the first summer I’ve done it. I’ve heard a lot about it; my wife has done it a few years in a row,” said Bird, a professional triathlete from Calgary, AB.
Bird plans to take part in the Peach Classic triathlon in Penticton tomorrow and used the Across the Lake Swim as a warm-up for the event.
“Usually I charge out of the water and I’m going to the bikes. So this is a real treat to come out and get all this attention—normally with triathlons, you don’t quite get that much.”
Fifty-one seconds separated Bird from his nearest competition; 16-year-old Alex Diaz completed the swim with a time of 24 minutes and 27 seconds.
“I knew there were going to be some really fast swimmers out there,” said Bird.
“Sometimes pool swimmers aren’t as apt in the open water. I came from the pool and it took me a long time to learn how to swim in open water really well.
“Sometimes with the swells or currents you have to change the tempo of your stroke on the fly.”
This year marked the 65th anniversary of the Across the Lake Swim. Approximately 650 swimmers took part in this year’s race. Twenty-four lifeguards were on the water to ensure the athletes were safe.