When the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim takes place tomorrow in Kelowna, several courageous swimmers will be tackling Canada’s largest and longest running open water swim event for the first time.
Since its beginning in 1949 as part of the Kelowna Regatta, the 2.1 kilometre Across the Lake Swim has focused on encouraging people to challenge themselves to new swim goals, whether it be crossing the lake for the first time, or trying to swim a faster time than in previous years.
This year is no different and the swim 65th anniversary of the swim has never been more popular. The event was capped at 650 swimmers and was sold out by the beginning of June with over 300 of those swimmers attempting the swim for the first time.
Among the newcomers are two youngsters who have been enrolled in the Across the Lake Swim Society’s Learn to Swim program at the H20 Centre. The pair will be attempting the swim accompanied by their swim coaches.
Dominic Teichroeb, 9, attended the swim lesson program put on at H20 for grade 3s this year and is excited to show his family and friends that he can step up and do something that nobody in his family has ever done.
Halie Derickson, also 9, participated in the swim lesson program at H20 this year and is hoping to make it the entire distance across the lake and will be swimming alongside her mother, also attempting the swim for the first time.
Another first time swimmer is Kelowna’s city manager Ron Mattiussi.
“Three years ago I was watching my family snorkeling in Maui and felt bad that I was too afraid to try,” said Mattiussi. “I came home and took swimming lessons at the Parkinson Centre. The Across the Lake Swim is my opportunity to once again challenge my fears and by doing that live life to its fullest. Life is too short to sit on the sidelines watching others have fun.”
Also swimming this year are a legally blind swimmer, a cancer survivor who’s challenged herself to swim the distance to raise funds for the Vernon Hospital, a 7 year old swimmer, an 81 year old swimmer, a swimmer who won a bronze medal in swimming at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and a host of other anxious, but excited swimmers.
In addition to celebrating its 65th anniversary, the Across the Lake Swim Society is excited to expand their Learn to Swim Program to send all third graders from School District 23 for free swim lessons at the H20 Centre.
The swim starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday. There is more information at www.acrossthelakeswim.com.