This year's Across the Lake Swim was the biggest yet with 900 swimmers taking the plunge Saturday morning.
Kelowna’s annual Interior Savings 'Across The Lake Swim' is the largest and longest continuously running open water swim event in Canada. It began in 1949 and brings competitors from across North America.
Swimmers complete a 2.1-kilometre swim from the Old Ferry Docks in West Kelowna to Hot Sands Beach in City Park Kelowna. This year, a strong winds and currents pushed many swimmers off course which added to the difficulty and time of many swims.
Tom Williamson of Penticton said this was his first time attempting the crossing.
"I usually swim in a pool, this was my first outdoor swim so it was a bit of an experience," he said. "It felt like I was out there forever."
The event is broken up into nine waves of swimmers, separated by their abilities to enhance safety and minimize congestion on the lake.
Swimmers wore colour coded caps to indicate which wave they were a part of. All swimmers wore ankle straps which carried a microchip to mark their time.
Nine-year-old Lucy Hill was the first racer under 10 years of age to cross the finish line. This was her second race across the lake and she said she would be back next year.
"I love swimming. It's just fun to go in the water and do that," she said. "A lady knocked my goggles off by accident, so for half the race I was swimming without goggles."
These are some of the features of the event according to the website:
- An opportunity to swim across the jewel of the Okanagan, and to reach a goal that relatively few have accomplished.
- A swim monitored by lifeguards and boats on the water, and the RCMP Lake Patrol.
- Our famous award winning stylish beach towel and a much sought after event T-Shirt!
- Automated Electronic Timing and your results posted online.
- Medals for top 3 overall in each individual age category (regardless of wave start).
- Food and drinks for tired and hungry swimmers.
- Funky souvenir swim cap for all finishers.
- Event insurance.
- Free ride to the start line.
- Lots of door prizes, including a chance to win two Blue Seventy wetsuits!
Results for the race will be posted on the event website.
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