Women raising money for Regina YWCA by swimming 90K relay at Last Mountain Lake
One of the swimmers says the women wanted something to work towards during the pandemic
As some beachgoers and campers head to Last Mountain Lake for a relaxing time, four women are taking a much more strenuous path. The quartet is challenging themselves to swim a 90-kilometre relay the length of the lake.
"We were just looking for sort of a bigger challenge," Kelsey van Dyke said. "Something that would sort of force us to train hard and prepare for and just have a real sense of accomplishment afterwards."
Van Dyke, who is from Regina, is one of the swimmers. She'll be on a team with Dionne Tatlow, Adrien van Dyke and Meghan Chisholm.
They plan to set out in the cool water at about 5:00 a.m. CST on Wednesday, July 14, and expect the swim to take 30 to 40 hours to complete.
The group is raising money for the Regina YWCA. Chelsea Lemke, senior director of development for the non-profit, said fundraising is more important than ever.
"These ladies are fighting to take this the extra mile," Lemke said.
"I think it's absolutely incredible and they've had a great community support. They've raised over $3,000 of their $5,000 goal," she said. "I think the world of them."
The idea to swim the lake started near the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when all the pools were closed down. Van Dyke said her teammate Dionne Tatlow wanted to keep swimming and decided to do the lake without knowing how far it was.
Now that the swim is about to start, van Dyke said she is nervous and extremely excited. The four of them plan to rotate every hour.
"We'll keep doing that until we finish the whole 90 or so kilometres and go straight through the night," she said.
Mental state is going to be the biggest challenge, she said.
"[We] only have three hours of rest between each time we're in the water," van Dyke said.
"It's just such a lovely group of women that we're swimming with and we work really, really well together and we've been training really hard," she said. "Everyone is super supportive of each other and will help each other get through it."
Van Dyke said the group has also had volunteers helping along the way and sponsors for the fundraiser and to help on the swim.
This will be the first time a group has completed a swim across Last Mountain Lake, she said. The group is following the Marathon Swimming Federation regulations. The swimmers aren't allowed to stop during their hour, cannot touch the boat and aren't allowed to wear wetsuits.
Van Dyke said the group started preparing back in April, when there were partially thawed parts of the lake. They'd also go to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park and swim there when they could.
Their swim can be watched at their Facebook Event page 'Last Mountain Marathon.'
With files from The Morning Edition