Contributed Kelowna’s Emily Epp swam the English Channel in under 12 hours in July.

The Year in Sports: Kelowna teen conquers English Channel

Emily Epp makes 34-kilometre journey from from Dover, England to Calais, France.

In the summer of 2017, at just 17 years of age, Emily Epp completed the journey of a lifetime.

The Kelowna teen became the youngest person ever from B.C. to cross the English Channel, completing the 34-kilometre swim from Dover, England to Calais, France on July 14.

With coach Brent Hobbs by her side much of the way, Epp overcame rough conditions, bouts of sickness and the sting of a jellyfish to finish her journey in 11 hours 57 minutes.

“I am very thankful that my swim attempt was a success, and I am grateful for all of the people who supported me along the way,” Emily said. “It is hard to believe that my three-year goal/dream has been realized.”

But swimming across the channel was much more than an athletic endeavour for Epp. When all was said and done, Emily had raised close to $61,000 in donations for Canuck Place, a children’s hospice in Vancouver that holds special a place for the Epp family.

One of Emily’s sisters, Elan, lost all of her motor control following a viral infection when she was 18 months old. Elan began receiving care at Canuck Place five years ago and her quality of life has improved dramatically ever since.

The Kids Helping Kids Foundation and Nicola Wealth Management matched the amount raised by Emily, making the total raised for Canuck Place almost $122,000.

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