Victoria ultra-marathon swimmer challenged Victoria councillors to a swim in the ocean on Dec. 1 but said no members of council have taken up the challenge. (Photo courtesy of Corey Teramura)

Ocean swim challenge in support of Crystal Pool ‘rejected’ by Victoria councillors

Ultra-marathon swimmer still plans on swimming in ocean on Sunday

A Victoria marathon swimmer who has challenged Victoria councillors to a long-distance swim in the ocean said the challenge has been rejected.

Susan Simmons, an ultra-marathon swimmer known for open water swims in Greater Victoria and for overcoming multiple sclerosis (MS), made a request to councillors to join her on Dec. 1 at Ogden Point for a dip in the ocean. The goal was to show them what swimmers will have to do if Crystal Pool shuts down or is made smaller.

Reports on the aging Crystal Pool say its systems are degrading. Victoria Council has changed its mind several times on the design and location of the replacement pool, losing funding in the process.

READ ALSO: Ocean swim challenge shines spotlight on Crystal Pool plight

“Now council is once again talking about the size of the pool, suggesting that they may go back to considering a 25-metre tank,” said a statement from Susan Simmons. “A 25-metre pool means that half of the patrons of the pool will have nowhere to go except the ocean if they wish to swim to stay healthy.”

The statement also said no member of Victoria City Council has taken up Simmons’ challenge to join her at Ogden Point.

“Councillors Jeremy Loveday and Sarah Potts have rescinded their offer to join me, while Councillors Geoff Young, Marianne Alto and Mayor Lisa Helps have declined,” Simmons said. “Councillors Ben Isitt, Sharmarke Dubow and Charlayne Thornton-Joe haven’t responded, and a second invitation was sent to them this week.”

READ ALSO: Victoria city staff start from square one on Crystal Pool project

While Simmons said she is disappointed, she still plans on swimming in the ocean on Sunday and is hoping community members will join her to show their support for the pool.

Simmons will be at Ogden Point on Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. to take a plunge into the ocean for the community pool.

“We need to come together as a community,” Simmons said. “It’s our pool.”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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