Debbie has been wanting and planning to swim across Lake Okanagan for 5 years. Today the plan is implemented. 2.1KM from the old ferry dock on the west side of lake to the main park in downtown Kelowna. 1300 people swim this year. It is a well run event. Similar to a fun run. It is a personal challenge to do it. Looking across the Okanagan, it seems doable but not one of those things you might just jump in the water and do it. Then again this swim is not the shortest route from across. The start is somewhat north of the big bridge and the finish is adjacent to it so we end up swimming at a diagonal.
I am seeded in a earlier wave than Debbie and B and swim pretty much alone for the entire distance. Had never swum in a wet suit before and it is fast. I thought I did pretty well. I sat next to an Across the Lake Swim veteran on the bus to the start and he said he believed the wet suit measured to a 20% advantage. In fact I am 20% faster than I am in the pool without a suit. It is also a constant swim and I am terribly slow on the turns in a pool so that also works to my advantage. I end up in the to 1/4 of the entire field and the top 1/3 of the 60 to 69 male group. So that age thing I was talking about in the last post could be lagging in the swimming department. Don’t know if we will be able to make next year’s event but if we do I already have some improvement in the strategies I will apply. The siting markers suggested by the organizers I think sent everyone on a bit of an arc and I believe I could set a better course with a slight adjustment to the first marker. We also did not have to arrive at 6am. We did a lot of standing around. We planned carefully the night before and all went as planned. We could sleep a extra 1/2 hour or so as long as there are no glitches.
Debbie here. B and I start our swim 2 waves after Murray. B is nervous but we have a plan to swim side by side so we can see one another and I am close, just in case. The start is a water start. We jump off the dock into rather shallow water and swim slowly to the starting buoys. We hang in the water for about a minute before the count down and we are off.
Our plan is to start off really slowly to make sure our breathing stays under control, which we accomplish. I get into a rhythm and just swim and sight on the mountain across the lake and every time I breathe to the left, check for B. We maintain this until about 2/3 across the lake where it gets choppy. In the choppiness we drift apart more but I keep tabs on my friend.
The choppy water makes sighting much harder. We are close enough now to sight on the finish arch but with the chop, sometimes it is obscured by water as I look up. We make a course direction change to aim more to the arch and the last couple of hundred meters are hurting.
Once we are touching the sand with our fingers, we stand up and try to run to the timing mat. B and I manage to get the exact same time. It was a great swim, B did wonderfully and overcame her nerves, and I would do it again. I have wanted to do this swim for years and am glad I finally did it, and on my birthday too!