Shuswap Swimming Team had a great turnout to its first run at a PolarBearSwim to start off 2007. The event started slowly on this chilly sub zerowinter morning, with the crowd trying to figure out the best way to enterthe water. The traditional route of jumping off the dock at the boatlaunchwas avoided due to a build up of ice around the dock.

So instead, theswimbegan another 50 metres away where the edge of the ice met the bare wateralong the beach.

Shuswap Swimming Team invited all of its members to take part in thisyear’sPolar Bear Swim at Canoe Beach (as an optional activity). As an extraincentive for some of the swimmers to take the cold plunge, and to helpouta worthy cause, Shuswap Swimming committed to donate $10 to Diabetesresearch for each of the team members who took part in this uniqueaquaticevent in our community.

The team had three team swimmers take the plunge, along with Head Coach,Mike Effray: Maddie Anhel (9), Macauley Harvey (7) and Hannah Kalinzcuk(8).Joining them in the water were parents Dietmar Penkert, Paul Harvey, aswellas Macauley’s little sister Ruby (5), and proud team supporter, DougRevel.

But they were far from alone in the venture with other team swimmersthereto cheer them on (such as Holly Anhel, Dieter and Christian Penkert), andanother group of nearly 10 friends and family who wanted to see the eventand support it along the way.

“This was a fun way for our team to greet the New Year. It was great forusbecause Polar Bear swims are usually associated with a new start to theyear, and this is our first season as a swim team, so it is a start forustoo,” said coach Mike Effray. “It was great to have about twentyswimmersand supporters join us at the lake side, and even better that we canthinkof helping such a great cause too. In another light, it is kind of neattohave some of our swimmers thinking about swimming in the lake,” addedEffray, “especially with an increased emphasis on open water and distanceswimming being promoted within swimming in Canada and around the world.Perhaps, once the ice is gone and the warm months come, we will see someofour swimmers beginning to think of open water swimming as a possibilityforthem too. We are very proud of those swimmers who came out to take part,and happy to financially help this cause with the showing of theseswimmers’bravery under the chilly circumstances.”

One of the families on the team even took up a small collection (on theirown initiative!) and added more money to the pot for the donation towardsdiabetes research.

Shuswap Swimming is now in the second 8 week session for it’spre-competitive swimming program in the team’s inaugural swimming season(while currently taking a break for the Christmas holidays), with anothertwo 8 week pre-competitive sessions still to come this season, and stillmore room for young swimmers (for this season, children aged 12years old&younger) keen to join up in all groups within the team! Feel free tocontact us at 804-2006, or for more information on the club.