Seventh Annual 13-km Swim

The sun was not yet up when the first swimmers and crew were arriving at the starting point at Swift Rapids. This year we left from the concrete wall on the north side instead of the narrow pillar. The majority of swimmers were in the water before 7:30 a.m. hoping to avoid the wind and boat traffic, which increases as the day progresses. Sunrise brought overcast skies and humidity until about 9:30 a.m. when the wind began to pick up and the sun to peep through the clouds. By 10 there was a wind approaching from the swimmers’ right side and slightly behind. It gave some push forward to the swimmers, but mostly a push towards the south shore!

Meanwhile, the swimmers gave a big push to our fundraising total, bringing in $14,500 to put our grand total over $76,000 in seven years.

Compared to last year with the rain, this was a great year for swimming and the overall times of the swimmers reflected this. There were 24 swimmers this year including 12 solo swimmers and 12 relay swimmers divided into two teams. The fastest swimmer completed her swim in 4 hours 9 minutes and the last swimmer took 7 hours and 58 minutes, in part resulting from her late start and the rougher afternoon conditions.

Sickness overcome

Bonnie Moore was into the water with her co-swimmers from Aurora at 6:03 a.m., accompanied by husband Ford. Bonnie had a great swim this year, 5 hours 28 minutes but was troubled by nausea for the last quarter of the distance. “Not sure where the nausea came from this year, as I haven’t been troubled by it in the past,” Bonnie commented. “Must have been Pedro’s wine and cheese the night before that did it.”

Bonnie’s friend and training partner, Sandra Groves, entered the water at 6:03 a.m. accompanied by husband Mark. Sandra was our second fastest first-time swimmer finishing in 5 hours 5 minutes, and the first to reach the end.

Bonnie and Sandra’s third training partner, Pedro Balzan, also entered the water at 6:03 accompanied by Steve Sedore ( long time cottager in Woods Bay, and strong supporter of the swim ). According to Pedro, he “had no legs” when he finished, leaving his legs 7 kms back due to a muscle cramp in his calf. Another great first-time swim in 5 hours 20 minutes.

Marilyn Korzekwa was the next in the water accompanied by son Roman. Even with an inconsistent training schedule through the winter, she had another great swim this year completing in 5 hours 12 minutes.

Fast first-timer

Next in was Tatum Haslem, a first-time swimmer accompanied by mom and dad, Pam and Ken Elphick. Tatum contacted the swim organizer days after last year’s swim with a plan to swim this year. She had an amazing first swim emerging from the water with incredibly sore shoulders in 4 hours, 49 minutes, the fastest first-time swimmer this year.

Colleen Shields, accompanied by Al Cox, was our fastest swimmer overall this year, finishing in 4 hours 9 minutes. Last year Colleen completed the 2006 Swim for the Cure as a warm up for her very successful Lake Ontario crossing in early August.

Christine Mitchell, another first-time swimmer, was the last to decide to swim this year. Christine was accompanied by Dave Wareing and completed in 6 hours 19 minutes to grace the pages of the Orillia Packet and Times.

Julie Bennett, accompanied by Pat Dornack, all the way from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, swam together with Taryn Kelner. Taryn was accompanied by parents Maureen and Ron Kelner. Both had a great swim, completing in 5 hours 35 minutes side-by-side. Julie made an outstanding contribution to the cause this year by raising over $3,200 for breast cancer research.

Team efforts

The relay team of Mark Bang, Jennie Popplow, Adam Popplow, Nikita Moores, Tiffany Gillespie and Mark Bang were the next in the water with Mark starting and team captain Jennie paddling the canoe alongside him. Jennie was the next swimmer into the water with Mark paddling for the team for the remainder of the swim, while Jennie organized the next swimmers into the water. Eric Bang was the last into the water and the team joined him to finish the last part of the swim as Ian Moores took over the paddling for the team.

The second relay team was started by Barry Bender accompanied by team captain Howard Katz. Follow swimmers Norma Jack, David Heidebrecht, Sasha Katz and Laura Katz each swam a section along with Howard and completed the swim together in 6 hours 10 minutes.

Jay Serdula, accompanied by Jo Ann Marriot,t who volunteered to paddle with a swimmer and friend Luke Frandsen, was the second last swimmer into the water and had a very strong first-time swim, completing in 5 hours 53 minutes. He also swam back out and accompanied friend Karen Jutzi as she completed the end of her swim.

First-time swimmer Karen, accompanied by Peter Wong, got lost on the way to the swim and didn’t get started until 9:24. She faced the worse of the conditions, swimming throughout the afternoon and completing the swim in 7 hours 58 minutes.

Swim organizer Debbie Bang was the first one into the water, accompanied by her brother Jamie Myles, from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She had a strong swim this year, swimming for her Aunt Teri who lost her battle with breast cancer on May 20, 2007, completing in 5 hours 32 minutes with a painful left arm.

Thanks to many

The swim would not be possible without the organizational help from Steve Bang, taxiing swimmers and crew to the starting line, setting up tents and the refreshments for the swimmers and crew at the end and getting crew and swimmers back to their cars and/or cottages.

Don Popplow has been the official photographer since the first swim and was again this year, capturing the memories of the day through pictures. He also assists with getting the swimmers and crew to the starting point and home again.

Jim Shaw assists with getting the swimmers, crew and boats to the starting point and whatever other “taxiing” is needed during the day.

Joel Huddel and grandfather Art help each year by checking on the swimmers as they travel along the course. They are able to bring news about the other swimmers and most importantly encouragement and directions when needed.

Caroline Burns and Brenda German are very valuable members of the crew as they start each of the swimmers each year, record our final times and assist with the completion of receipts for the donations. Both these women rise very early and travel several hours on the morning of the swim to give their gift of time.

Debbie Bang’s mom and dad, Mary Lyn and Herb Myles, arrange for the receipt books and submit our donations each year. They worry about the little details like banners, tents for the finish area, details for preparing the receipts as well as fun items to help identify the key crewmembers – this year in pink camouflage hats with a sparkling ribbon on the rim. Thanks to mom, and sister Marjorie Myles Bilous, for the great hats.

Another year completed and hopefully a step closer to finding a cure for breast cancer. We swim to inspire hope, raise some funds to make the lives of those living with the disease that much better, and to extend our own lives. There are many ways to complete the Swim for the Cure next year – as a volunteer crewmember, or a solo swimmer, either 12.8 kms or 7.8 kms, or as part of a relay team.

Think about joining us. . . it is a very rewarding challenge and experience.