A Penticton teen who's been open swimming since she was 10 years old is using her talents to help raise money for a cause close to her heart.
"On August 14, I'll be swimming from Peachland to Penticton to raise money for Alzheimer's research because this past March, my grandmother died of Alzheimer's and she'd been suffering from it for over 10 years," Issie Grecoff said.
"This disease really runs in my family, even on my dad's side."
The now sixteen-year-old just returned home from California after swimming at the Far Westerns Championships.
"I've been competitively swimming for nine years now. I race in the pool throughout the year and then in the summer, I kind of switch to open water."
Grecoff has completed the three and seven-kilometre Rattle Snake Island swims, as well as the 11.8 km Skaha Lake Ultra Swim.
Back in 2019, Grecoff raised $4000 for the Alzheimer Society of Canada through Ultra swim.
"So each year I kind of wanted to build up my swimming distance, raise more money, but because of COVID I kind of had to take a break from doing that. So this is the first year I've been able to up my distance and try to raise more money."
In 2020, Grecoff did her own open water swim in Quebec, swimming 24 kilometres in Lake St. John.
When she takes on the Okanagan Lake swim next Sunday, Grecoff will be facing a distance of 32 kilometres.
"It's gonna be probably around 12 hours. I did my 24 kilometres in seven hours. So I'm expecting it to be a little bit slower at the end, for the last 10 kilometres," she said.
Grecoff will be using a wetsuit, drinking lots of warm fluids and different stroke styles to keep her body warm throughout.
"We also have Float Okanagan from Kelowna, who's sponsoring us, and they're donating a boat for my swim. So that's really amazing," she added. "The boat is gonna follow me throughout the whole swim and will have all my food on board and all the things that I need. And then we'll also have like a little Kayaker and paddle-boarder to be closer to me... just to make sure I'm all safe."
So far, Grecoff has raised almost $3500 for the Alzheimer Society of Canada with a goal of reaching $5K.
Support is coming from family, friends and neighbours to help out Grecoff.
"I've heard back from some people that I don't even know that are like, 'Yeah, this disease touches my family and I'm really happy that you're raising money for this.' So I really hope people understand that this means a lot to me and it also affects a lot of different people too."
"I just really hope that people will come to the finish and donate a bit."
For more information on Grecoff's swim and to donate, visit her website here.