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Group of women swim 90K at Last Mountain Lake, raise $7,500 for Regina’s YWCA

A group of five women swam Saskatchewan's Last Mountain Lake to raise money for Regina's YWCA. Provided / Dionne Tatlow

A group of women have completed a swim at Saskatchewan’s Last Mountain Lake to help raise money for Regina’s YWCA.

Nichole Robinson, Kelsey van Dyke, Adrien van Dyke, Meghan Chisholm and Dionne Tatlow took part in the Last Mountain Marathon, a 90-km relay swim, wrapping up their effort around 8 a.m. Thursday.

So far, the women have raised more than $7,500.

“We’re a group of women so it’s nice to have women supporting women,” said Dionne Tatlow, Last Mountain marathon swimmer.

Read more: 5 women swimming 90K across Last Mountain Lake to raise funds for Regina’s YWCA

“I know what they (YWCA) do, but working with them has been lovely because they have told me so much more – things I didn’t realize.

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“It makes it that much more special since I have learned a little bit more about the organization and all the great stuff they do.”

Swimming Last Mountain Lake.
Swimming Last Mountain Lake. Provided / Dionne Tatlow

Known as a powerful voice for vulnerable woman and children in the community, the money raised is much appreciated.

“Challenging themselves while supporting an organization that works with incredibly resilient women and children in our community who face incredible barriers and challenges every day is a really interesting narrative of support,” said Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO YWCA Regina.

The event was done under Marathon Swimming Federation rules, meaning each of the five swimmers swam in rotating one-hour blocks until the swim was complete.

Read more: Coronavirus: YWCA Regina shelters and essential services remain fully accessible

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In preparation for the event, the women spent time training in Candle Lake.

“This one was different because of the hour-long intervals. It was swimming for an hour, out for an hour,” Tatlow said. “A lot of shorter swims rather than really long training swims.”

Heading into the marathon, Tatlow said the swimmers were feeling a little bit uneasy due to the weather, but quickly changed once they were in the water.

A group of five women swam Last Mountain Lake.
A group of five women swam Last Mountain Lake. Provided / Dionne Tatlow

“There were a little bit of nerves going into the swim because of the wind. We had tented the night before, so all night we listened to the wind which was a little daunting,” Tatlow said.

“The wind definitely played a factor, but it was coming west so it was kind of nice because it ended up giving us a push.”

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Tatlow said the wind picked up for a few hours during the marathon which led to some challenges but they didn’t let it kill the mood.

Read more: New immigrant volunteers at Regina YWCA to protect vulnerable staff amid COVID-19

“I found it fun. You can’t have a perfect day, where’s the fun in that?” Tatlow said.

Overall, it’s an experience Tatlow said she and the other swimmers will never forget.

“It was such a good group of girls. We’re so positive, and all swimming so well,” Tatlow said. “Two of us said we were sad that it was ending.”

The swimmers gave themselves 30-40 hours to complete the swim but were able to finish in 27 hours and 19 minutes.

Although not official, Tatlow believes this was the first time a group of swimmers swam across Last Mountain Lake, marathon-style.

Specifically, the money raised is going towards YWCA’s Say Yes campaign, which helps fund its outreach team which offers a lot of hands-on support.

Donations for the event are still being accepted. To donate click here.

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