Victoria women to attempt 30-km swim across Juan de Fuca Strait

Two women are attempting to swim across the Juan de Fuca Strait from Victoria to Port Angeles, Wash., Sunday to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

Swim is expected to take up to 15 hours in water between 8 to 12 C

Susan Simmons (left) and Jill Yoneda are attempting to swim across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (CHEK )

Two women are attempting to swim across the Juan de Fuca Strait from Victoria to Port Angeles, Wash., to raise money for causes close to their hearts.

The swim was originally scheduled to take place Sunday but it has been rescheduled to Monday due to high winds. 

Only seven people have successfully made the 30-kilometre crossing — Marilyn Bell was the first to complete it in 1956. 

Susan Simmons and Jill Yoneda say they expect it will take them between 12 and 15 hours to get through the task.

They say they're taking on the challenge despite their physical disabilities.

Simmons was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years ago. Yoneda has drop foot — a condition that makes it difficult for those who suffer from it to lift the front part of their foot. 

"Instead of doctors telling me things I can't do, I need to prove to myself I can still do this," Yoneda said. 

"I like to challenge myself even though I have physical limitations."

This will be the second long-distance swim for Yoneda. In 2016 she swam 50 kilometres with Simmons from Ocean Falls to Bella Bella, B.C. 

Simmons has accomplished several long-distance swims, including a 70-kilometre journey across Cowichan Lake in 2014. 

She will be completing the swim without the benefit of a wetsuit to keep her warm.

"The water could be below 10 degrees. I've heard anywhere between 8 to 12 degrees," Simmons said. "That part terrifies me."

Both women have been training in ocean waters to get accustomed to the cold. 

Simmons is raising money for multiple sclerosis. Yoneda is raising money to support a full day of surfing for youth from the Ahousat First Nation, to help them feel more connected to the ocean.

They will be accompanied by volunteers on kayaks and boats to ensure their safety. 

With files from Deborah Goble and CHEK News.