July 16, 2014 - 3:23 PM
KELOWNA – Canada’s biggest and longest running swim event is back in Kelowna for the 66th year in a row.
This Across the Lake Swim will be the biggest yet with 900 participants signed-up to swim 2 km from the Old Ferry Wharf in West Kelowna to City Park. Participants leave the shores of West Kelowna in waves of up to 100 and make their way to City Park as quickly as possible.
The event is organized by the Across the Lake Swim Society and past president Mark Fromberg says this year was the earliest sell out they’ve ever had.
“We were initially going to have 750 but we got there so quickly we decided to expand it a couple times,” he says. “By the time we hit 900 we had to stop because of logistical and safety concerns.”
Fromberg says approximately 150 volunteers, including more than 45 lifeguards, will be on boats and the shore to ensure swimmers’ safety.
“We want everybody no matter what their ages to be able to focus on having a good time and not have to worry about safety,” he says.
Last year’s winner, John Bird from Calgary, will be back to defend his title, but Fromberg says three local swimmers, Alex Diaz, Spencer Dean and Josh Zakala, are strong contenders.
“All three of these kids are very good swimmers and any one of them could win it,” he says. “That’s going to make this a very exciting race.”
Proceeds from ATLS go towards paying for swimming lessons for grade three kids in School District 23.
“Every kid between Peachland and Winfield is getting free swim lessons on our nickel,” Fromberg says. “That’s 1400 kids and we’re very proud of the idea we are working at drown-proofing our community.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014