The 66th Across the Lake Swim took place in Kelowna this past July 19th, 2014, and Sooke was well represented with 13 strong swimmers.
Since 1949, swimmers have been embracing Canada’s largest open water swim, which takes place every year in Kelowna, B.C. Swimmers of all ages and of all skill levels swim the 2.1 distance across Okanagan Lake.
Among these swimmers are those from Sooke.
But this year was not an ordinary year. According to the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim newsletter, this year’s swim “was daunting if not outright discouraging for most of the swimmers who started the 2.1km event at the Old Ferry Wharf jetty.”
The normal cut-off time for the swim is 90 minutes, but this year, less than half the swimmers had crossed the finish line. Indeed, most swimmers took twice the time, and this was reflected in the numbers. The average crossing time for last year’s swim was just over 46 minutes; this year, the average crossing time was one hour and 29 minutes. Almost double.
“It was QUITE the event this year,” noted Laura (Byrne) Hooper. “All of the swimmers got more than they bargained for this year.”
As they completed their swim, the athletes staggered in, exhausted.
“The finish line, though normally quite festive in years past, was much more solemn out of worry for our teammates as every minute passed without them,” said Hooper. “We all stood waiting for the last friend to arrive. “
The Sooke swimmers were Doug Van Ek (who led the Sooke group with a remarkable time of 43:01), Lisa Knoles (Sooke’s top female time), Tara Poirier, Laura (Byrne) Hooper, Teresa Lennox, Kaelison Poirier (Sooke’s youngest swimmer), Bob Whittet, Dave Cummings, Ron Buddo (interviewed in April this year “Sooke swimmers get all serious when told to go jump into the lake”), Allan Poole, Murray Benson, Fiona Poole and Janet Rayner Thorn.
But wait, there’s more…!
The day following this exhausting swim, four of Sooke’s women who swam the lake took to the water again as they completed the Peach Classic Triathlon.
Tara Poirier, Lisa Knoles, Laura (Byrne) Hooper and Teresa Lennox all took part in this second athletic event. Sooke’s Jacqueline McAllister also took part in the Peach Classic.
This triathlon consists of a 750m swim, a 20k bike ride, and a 5k run.
“We had two third place finishes and considering the effort of the swim on the previous day
(Across the Lake Swim) we are all pleased with our results,” reported Hooper.