So, I first heard of the Lake Skaha Ultraswim from Dan Benoit. He said he had done the swim many years ago and he thought it was pretty awesome. He said he was planning on signing up and they were only accepting 100 swimmers. That was last September.
The swim is an 11.8K point to point swim on Lake Skaha from Penticton to Okanagan Falls, B.C. The more I thought about it the more I liked the idea. Each swimmer has to have their own kayaker rowing alongside them. I asked Paul what he thought and if he would do it with me. He said, well he wouldn’t let me go by myself. I talked to Joy about it and she seemed kind of interested. Anyway, in time we decided we would do it together, training and all, and we signed up in October for the August race.
We started training in January by swimming 3 days a week, one day doing increasingly longer distances. That got to be pretty rough, swimming 100’s of continuous laps in the pool. We just kept looking forward to the sauna at the end. Our skin got so dried out and itchy too. It was so much nicer when we finally got to swim in the lake, even though it was freezing cold. We swam in Lake Morton mostly, starting at 1 time around and eventually getting to 5 times around, which we figured to be about 6 miles. We both swam at CDA the day before the CDA race and the water was super choppy, which really scared us, thinking there is no way we could swim 7 miles in that. So we started looking for choppier waters, swimming a few times in Lake Washington and quite a bit in Lake Meridian.
Driving into town and seeing the lake was quite overwhelming. It was huge, and we were going to be in the middle of it! Chris and Andriette Hall were also doing the swim. We all met at the prerace meeting. Joy, her husband and kayaker, Daryl, Paul and I, and the Halls. We also met Kiko, and some of her friends. Kiko is a friend of Dan and Chris’s from college days. Dan had told her to take care of us and she was great, The night before the race, I got sick. The morning of the race, I could barely eat or drink anything. Could have been nerves but I haven’t been physically sick from nerves before. We all made it to race start and we were off.
It was pretty cool, all of us (83) swimmers and their kayakers, spread across the lake, heading for the farthest mountain. It wasn’t as beautiful as it could have been because it was very smoky. The water temp was nice, 74 I think. It was pretty calm to start but as we got farther in it got pretty choppy. I finally had to stop and I started heaving into the lake. Maybe a combo of seasick and nerves? Anyway, I had very little nutrition for the whole swim, which took longer than I hoped, 4 hours and 52 minutes. Of course, I was so happy to finally finish! The race support was awesome, they really took care of their swimmers, including giving a little bio on every swimmer that crossed the finish line.
We all celebrated by going to a great place for dinner (Salty’s) although I still couldn’t eat.
I’m pretty sure Chris will want to do this again, as he was just 14 seconds shy of the age group record. Joy has already said that she would do it again, and hopefully there will be more friends that will give it a try.
Would I do it again? I’m thinking about it. I’d like to do it if I knew I would feel strong and not be sick. I asked Paul if he would do it again and he is on the fence, so far…
Big thanks to Joy, for doing this crazy adventure with me, she was an awesome training partner! Thanks to my husband, Paul, who always supports my craziness, and thanks to my family and friends who have been wonderful. You are all the best!
Best part of the race- meeting Joy at the finish!
Raise the Bar
Race reports, upcoming events, news, and more, from RTB.