Sixteenth Annual Swim for the Cure

Swim Story 2016

We were anticipating very hot and humid conditions for our crew and worked hard and were successful in getting everyone in the water before 0745 hours this year. It was an unusual year in that there was no current in the river moving us forward and head winds from the 1 km point onward. Hence the longer swim times this year – for many of us, we were an hour longer than last year.

The strong breeze helped to make the air temperature manageable for the crew. The winds started before we got into the water and were mostly from the North West, at times switching to Westwards winds – in all a strong force pushing the swimmers backwards – we were all glad to get out of the water at the end.  We were a group of 18 swimmers; 7 solo swimmers completing the 12.8 km swim, 1 solo completing 7.8 kms, 2 relay teams of 4 amazing young women completing the 12.8 km distance and two young women who inspired Deb’s last 2.8 kms.

The air temperature was around 28C and the water a warm 25C/77F. An easy water temperature to get into early in the morning and very comfortable during breaks.  This year we also had a lot of boat traffic as it was a very nice summer day – the boats were not as respectful of the swimmers as they were some years and we managed both the waves and head winds during the swim.

There were some fabulous pictures captured by Bob and Pam Poyntz, volunteers from the Barrie Canadian Cancer Society. Have a look at the 2016 Swim pictures.

Name Solo/Team Crew Start / Finish Swim Time
  1. Peter Van Velzen
Solo Jack Vanderkooy 0700-1212 5h12m
  1. Marilyn Korsekwa
Solo Husband 0742-1323 5h41m
  1. Debbie Bang
  2. Lauren Reynolds
  3. Meghan Hastings

Solo 2.8 km

Solo 2.8 km

Jamie Myles

Tim Reynolds

Rory Hastings







  1. Sammy Mutti
Solo Blair Hisele 0625-1307 6h42m
  1. Jay Serdula
Solo Paul Blackwell 0742-1454 7h30m
  1. Brenda Boyter
Solo Joe 0618-1518 9h0m
  1. Siobbhan Boyter
Solo Jay 0618-1518 9h0m
  1. Katherine Mutti
Solo 7.8 km Christina 0650-1017 3h27m
  1. Katelyn Walcoft
  2. Lauren Fawcett
  3. Jill Fawcett
  4. Sarah Hansen
Relay Al Walcroft & Parents 0722-1113 3h51m
  1. Logan Marks
  2. Sophie Deasy
  3. Annie Deasy
  4. Mallory Yeates
Relay Al Walcroft & Parents 0722-1113 3h51m

All of the solo swimmers have completed the swim in the past. Our new swimmers were from the young women’s relay teams; an enthusiastic and energetic group of female swimmers. What a delight it was to hear their encouragement of each other as they travel to Big Chute.  Katelyn Walcoft, her friends and family had also hung a banner “We support the Swim for the Cure” and had fuchsia inflated balloons around the cottage.  Thank you Katelyn for organizing this, a welcome inspiration for all of us, at the point in the swim when we cannot yet see the finish and have had enough.

Each year I start the swim with a nervous belly and settle into my swim after the 1km point. Each of the swimmers knows where there “enough already point” will be and I work out the plan with Jamie (my brother and paddler) beforehand.  This is where we take the favourite gel, drink or Tylenol to help get us to the end.  This year Lauren and Meghan were waiting for me at that point.  I was so glad to see them as it meant that I only had 2.8 kms to the finish at Big Chute.  I had had enough of the waves and was entering another open area where the wind would have a bigger impact.  Both young women were ready to go and so encouraging – thank you Lauren and Meghan for your smiles and confidence, you helped me to push through the waves and wind and to finish. Lauren, Meghan and I also had the pleasure of being accompanied and encouraged to keep swimming by Maggie and Hannah – two beautiful “goldens”.  Hannah was the queen of the kayak watching from Tim Reynolds kayak and Maggie was in the water with us, most of the last 2.8 kms – her joy, trying to catch bubbles was a wonderful distraction for my persistent leg cramps.

As always, many thanks to the people who support the swimmers. Beginning with Cathy Myles, who helped make cookies and a wraps for all of us and for her warm demeanor at the start of the swim.  She checks in all the swimmers, responding to questions, filling in details about what is ahead and meets us at the end.  Kay Soares rises early each Swim for the Cure morning to pick up swimmers at Severn Falls – offering a very comfortable ride to Swift Rapids, a great knowledge of the river and the shortest route and a wonderful welcoming smile first thing in the morning.  She offers direction and encouragement to the swimmer as a runner boat as well.

A special thank you to Pam and Bob Poyntz for your wonderful welcome to the swimmers as we finished, the great pictures and your sincere interest in the swimmers and our accomplishment. All receipts were handled via the Swim for the Cure swimmer’s on-line donation pages and by the Barrie Canadian Cancer Society again this year.

The paddlers have a special role with the swimmers each year. We count on our paddlers to be there, leading us along the shortest route, having our “feedings” ready and the words and smiles to keep us working towards our goal of finishing the swim.  This year the paddles also had to contend with the winds, strong sun and a longer swimming time.  On behalf of all the swimmers – thank you to our paddlers, you worked hard to achieve a straight and shortest route for us, were also tested by the large boat waves and a wind that was often pushing you towards your swimmer.  AND you got us to Big Chute, encouraging and supporting, sharing our joy at the end.  We know that you are a vital part of our success – thank you!

There are two other men that I would like to thank. Jamie Myles, my brother who travelled from Chicago to paddle beside me again this year. Jamie had his hands full this year both bailing out the canoe – significant leak was noted before the 3km point, and maintaining a straight course with the wind.  As always he excelled at the challenge and maintained my feeding times, communicating with supporters on the shore, noting which swimmers were approaching AND being a wonderful support for me.  Though I felt strong in the water, I also had a longer swim and significant leg cramps during most of the swim.  Ingesting some salt (read “uck”), picked up by Steve Bang, and provided some relief.

AND …Steve Bang. Swim days are early days for Steve as well.  He has numerous tasks, many behind the scene tasks that make the swim better for each of the swimmers.  He ensures that everyone gets to where they need to be, even when circumstances change the plan, he knows where all the swimmers are and how they are doing, he checks in with the paddlers and believes that each of us can reach our goal of finishing.  You know what a difference you make and the peace it gives me to just swim, knowing you have taken care of everything.  Thank you Steve!

Together we raised over $15,395 for the 16th Annual Swim for the Cure, bringing our total to over $238,000 for women, men and children affected by breast cancer. And we welcomed and swam with 5 new first time swimmers … 144 swimmers have participated in this swim over the 16 years.  Are you our new swimmer in 2017?

Special Note for interested relay swimmers: If you would like to be part of a relay team for 2017 – email me. I have had a couple of people express interest in being on a relay team.

If you are reading this story and have not yet swum with us, please consider swimming next year for our 17th annual swim.  Come as a solo swimmer, 12.8 kms / 8 miles or 7.8 kms / 4.9 miles completing at Big Chute or as part of a relay team completing at Big Chute.  We will need many helpers in 2017 to:

  1. Register and start the swimmers at Swift Rapids; recording the start times;
  2. Pick up swimmers at Severn Falls in the morning;
  3. Accompany the swimmers as a “runner boat”;
  4. Record the finish time at Big Chute;
  5. Drive crew back to Severn Falls to pick up their car;
  6. Paddle for a swimmer

Please consider either swimming with us or helping in 2017. I can be reached by email at or look for our new website at

Could you swim or crew next year … join us for our 17th annual swim!