This is not the story that I intended to write. After introducing you to the English Channel Lake Monsters team in my last post, I had planned for this post to be all about my excitement for our first open water race of the season: the Across the Lake Swim.
The Across the Lake Swim (ATLS) is an annual event (currently in its 64th year), where 500+ swimmers of all ages and abilities swim roughly 2.1km from the old ferry docks in West Kelowna to Hot Sands beach in City park. It was to be my first pre-English Channel practice at trying to speed up when it matters (in the English Channel there will be times when we have to speed up to fight the current and to get safely around shipping traffic).
From a personal level, the Across the Lake Swim is the reason that I am swimming today. My New Year’s Resolution in 2011 was to try to swim the ATLS for the first time that summer. I’m not originally from Kelowna so I had not swam it before, but kept hearing that it was a fantastic event to take part in, so I was interested to get back into swimming and try it out. As such, I joined the Okanagan Masters Swim Club (OMSC) to start training.
Thanks to joining the OMSC, I became good friends with fellow swimmers, got in shape, found my competitive side, and eventually ended up on this English Channel team. That New Year’s Resolution to swim the ATLS changed my life.
Last summer, three of my close friends from OMSC and I decided to swim the ATLS as a relay team. Including my current English Channel team mates Paul, and Phred, with the addition of our friend Ashley, we competed as the Fintastic Four. (Relay teams combine their individual times for crossing the lake for an overall team time, last year we came in 7th). This year we planned to swim as the Fintastic Four again, and hoped to move up in the standings.
But instead of swimming I will be watching from the sidelines. Two weeks ago while out wake surfing I got whiplash from a bad wipeout. It meant that I couldn’t move my neck from side-to-side for a week, and now (even though I do have mobility back in my neck), when I tried swimming again for the first time last night I found that it hurt to turn my neck to breathe. If this was the only swimming event planned for the summer I might have swam anyway, but in three weeks our English Channel team is going to attempt the Salish Sea Swim from Sechelt to Nanaimo as a practice run for the Channel. It is more important for me to participate in that swim than to swim the ATLS, even though the ATLS means so much to me.
I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to swim, but I will be cheering loudly for the remaining Fintastic Three (which just doesn’t have the same ring to it) and our other English Channel team mates. If you want to come cheer on my team mates and the other 500+ swimmers, the race starts at 8am this Saturday July 14 and you can cheer people in at the finish line on Hot Sands Beach.