July 20, 2019 7:15 pm

1,300 participate in 71st annual Across the Lake Swim

The two-kilometre event, which features participants swimming from West Kelowna to Kelowna, bills itself as the nation’s largest and longest open swim event.

Global News

It was a cold and wet start to the weekend for hundreds of people in the Central Okanagan – even without the light showers that rained down on Kelowna on Saturday morning.

The 71st annual Across the Lake Swim attracted waves of swimmers who bravely tackled the cool waters of Okanagan Lake.

Overall, 1,300 participants took part in the two-kilometre swim.

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“It was awesome, it was really good,” Jesse Webb of Regina said after finishing her second Across the Lake Swim, the first being two years ago.

“I was a little nervous, but once you get in there, you’re swimming and then all of a sudden the finish line is there. It was really good.”

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Asked why she takes part in the swim, which bills itself as the nation’s largest and longest open swim event, Edwards said it’s a good challenge.

“It’s beautiful here, it’s a wonderful lake. It’s so well organized; every volunteer is super encouraging. It’s just a great race.”

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Joining Webb on the trip to Kelowna for the swim was friend Stephanie Edwards.

“It went really good,” Edwards said of her first Across the Lake Swim. “I was a little nervous; it’s a long distance in open water and we don’t have a lot of chances to do open-water swimming back home.

“But once you get out there, you get in the zone. There’s lots of boats and other swimmers out there, so you can kind of stay on track. It was good and it was awesome water. It’s a beautiful lake.”

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For Gene Krupa of Kelowna, Saturday’s swim was his 11th time completing the event.

“Motivationally, it helps me set a goal,” said Krupa, adding that he’ll be back for next year’s swim. “I like doing the Across the Lake Swim. It gets me into the water quite a bit. It helps me feel good to achieve it.”

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Money raised from the event is used to help provide swim lessons to every grade student in the Central Okanagan School District.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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