Past the Shallows and Into the Drink

Swimmers Tackle The Wild, Wild Lake Erie Waters

The sun was hot and the cool water enticing to the eclectic group of swimmers who assembled on Port Stanley’s Main Beach on August 3, where they tackled their first open water swim. We hosted Lake Erie: Try an Open Water Swim, our final Explore the Thames event, in conjunction with South West Ontario Open Water Swim (SWOOWS), a competitive open water swim race series organized by swimmer and mentor Josh Reid. 

Reid has competed in various open water swims with distances up to 25 kilometers. He was also instrumental in the Swim For Erie last year, a 24-hour swim to raise awareness for lake health. This year, Reid will serve as coach and support kayaker for competitive swimmer Daniel Zin in the upcoming Lake Erie Challenge (join us on August 24 for our #LakeErieChallenge on-shore activities!). 

Going the Distance

It was a picture perfect day in Port Stanley to jump right in to its beautiful waters for a swim. The air was full of excitement as the participants strapped on their neon-orange buoys, a tool open water swimmers use for visibility.  

The beginner swim was held in a controlled, sectioned-off part of the beach with a safety crew (Reid amongst them) ensuring that participants were swimming safely over the course of the event.

The Swim to Victory

The event kicked off with a tutorial from Reid on how to tackle open water swimming and combat mental obstacles throughout the swim.

Every participant completed the 400m course and came back to shore beaming with satisfaction from their accomplishment. Age was but a number—the youngest participant, at only 12-years-old, was one of the first swimmers to arrive back on the beach. 

An on-shore entourage cheered everyone on, regardless of who the spectators had come to support. Thundering roars, claps, and cheers echoed as each and every swimmer reached the shore and sprinted towards the finish line. It was clear that everybody was in good spirits as we closed off the 2019 chapter of the Explore the Thames event series. 

A Summer To Remember

It’s been a wild summer here at the Freshwater Alliance. We’ve hosted birdwatching, canoeing, fishing, plant-touring, and swimming events for the residents of London and surrounding communities. These events focused on building new skills, interacting with the environment, and appreciating the diversity of the Thames River and Lake Erie. We hope that you have all enjoyed yourselves on these excursions, and appreciate the true value of the incredible freshwater resources we have here in Southwestern Ontario. 

Explore the Thames may be over, but our work with Lake Erie sure isn’t—our biggest event of the summer, the Lake Erie Challenge is happening on August 24 at Port Dover Beach for an exciting day of cheering on our athletes (and making the most of free yoga classes, giveaways, workshops, and cake!) Interest piqued? RSVP to our Facebook Event

All photos taken by Jocelyn Wong on August 3, 2019 (unless otherwise indicated). More photos of the event can be found here.

Explore the Thames is made possible thanks to the support of: