Big Swim charity event cancelled due to weather

The Big Swim, a charity event that has participants swim across the Northumberland Strait, was cancelled Sunday.

Organizers say this is the first cancellation in 7 years

Swimmers, kayakers and organizers gathered on the beach at Cape Jourimain, N.B. to prepare for the swim across the Northumberland Strait Sunday morning. (Ryan Bradley)

The Big Swim, an annual charity event that has participants swim across the Northumberland Strait, was cancelled Sunday.

The event, put on by Give to Live, is a fundraiser for the Brigadoon Children's Camp Society in Nova Scotia.  

Preparations were well under way Sunday morning as 50 swimmers gathered on the beach in Cape Jourimain, N.B. and prepared to enter the water with the 100 kayakers there to support them. 

But, in the end the swim didn't go ahead.

Initially organizers hoped to change routes and swim along the coast of N.B., but that was called off.

"Unfortunately, with probably about 150, 200 people on the beach at around 7, 7:30 am, we had some thunder and lightning," said Todd MacDonald, one of the co-founders of Give to Live. 

"At that point in time it becomes, safety first and we had to cancel the event."

Last year's event had to deal with weather problems as well.

The route was changed and instead of swimming across the Strait, participants covered the same distance as the crossing along the New Brunswick coast. 

This is the first time the event has been canceled in seven years.

'Pretty bummed'

Ryan Bradley was the lone Islander taking part in the swim.

He's been training since January, adding more to his regimen in recent weeks to prepare him for the swim across the Strait.

Organizers say this is the first time in 7 years the event has been cancelled. (Give To Live/Twitter)

"Pretty bummed. I mean, you train five months for something, and it doesn't happen of course you're going to be bummed out," he said.

"Everyone was upset, but I mean, it's better than getting out in the middle of the water, and it's pretty dangerous so we had to respect that and we just packed up and got home."  

'We'll certainly do it'

MacDonald said that rescheduling the Big Swim is difficult because tides in the Strait are only suitable for the crossing a few days each month.

While Give to Live couldn't make this year's event happen, MacDonald said the organization intends on putting on the event next year.

Ryan Bradley (black cap) stands on the beach with kayaker Shannon Burt, from Charlottetown. (Submitted by Ryan Bradley)

"We'll certainly do it."

For Bradley, the desire to achieve what he set out to do is evident.

"I want to still swim the Strait," he said. "I would certainly consider it next year."

With files from Katerina Georgieva