Across the Lake Swim

Finally got to complete the 2020 Across the Lake Swim!

Across the Lake Swim is a Kelowna summer must do for people that love swimming. The swim is a 2.1km open water event open to anyone that wants to challenge themselves. I think this year the youngest swimmers were 8 years old and the oldest swimmer this year is 90.

My journey (if that is what the correct term for this is) to swimming across the lake started in 2019 when my daughter and a friend did it. Encouraged by her and by seeing all the different swim abilities and fitness levels of people doing the swim I realized I could definitely do it. The event has a competitive element to it with some swimmers aiming to complete it in under 30 minutes but overall it’s a group of people who like swimming doing something challenging – and fun.

I registered for the 2020 swim as soon as it opened and then waited through two years of Covid until it was finally time! The 2022 swim saw slightly less swimmers than previous years with just under 700 swimmers (I think) but I suspect next year it will be up close to a 1000 swimmers again in the future.

The swim is a fundraiser for the local Y to help fund swimming lessons for local elementary school kids so the entry fee helps fund that as well as a cool towel, transportation to the other side of the lake, and snacks after the event. It also includes several weeks of open water clinics to help people get used to swimming long distances with other people.

I swam it in 49 minutes and felt really great afterwards. Pretty sure next year I can get below 45 minutes, or at least that will be my goal.

So here’s a bit of my experience and some tips if you are planning on doing it next year as well!

  • The Swim Clinics: Highly recommend attending at least one of the open water clinics. Yes, they are at 7am on a Saturday. But yes, so worth it. I attended two and learned a lot about sighting (keeping your eyes on where you are going), dealing with other swimmers who also are not swimming 100% straight, and jut general confidence building. If you can’t attend the clinics make sure you swim in the lake at least once before the event!
  • Wet Suit: I say get one but everyone in my group of friends swimming with me didn’t have one and was just fine. I enjoyed the extra bit of warms and buoyancy so was glad I had one.
  • Food: I failed a bit at this but I suggest having some kind of breakfast before the swim. I ate a granola bar and I was very hungry by the start of the event. Next year I’m thinking scrambled eggs or something else with a bit more sticking power. There are some snacks at the finish line so that was a great extra incentive!
  • The most important part – find some friends to swim with you! I had several members of my artistic swim team and a bunch of friends of a couple of the teammates swam with us too. Everyone spread out during the swim but it was great to have familiar faces at the start line and cheering each other on at the end as well.

Looking forward to doing it again next year. And sort of considering doing the slightly longer swim over labour day weekend over in West Kelowna.

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