Orca Swim Team holds Swim-O-Thon fundraiser

Summerland Orca Swim Team collected pledges in a long-distance swim challenge. The money will help build the club and provide the team with the needed coaching, program and equipment. - Photo submitted
Summerland Orca Swim Team collected pledges in a long-distance swim challenge. The money will help build the club and provide the team with the needed coaching, program and equipment.
— image credit: Photo submitted

The Summerland Orca Swim Team held its annual Swim-O-Thon fundraiser Sunday, Feb. 26. It proved to be a successful event, building much more than team spirit.

A total of 60 swimmers from seven to 17 years of age participated in this long distance challenge, said coach Delano Ducheck.

The younger swimmers had 30 minutes to swim as many lengths as they could, while the more senior swimmers had the goal of swimming up to 200 lengths within the two-hour timeframe.

Swimmers collected pledges for their lengthy swim to help support the team.

“There were so many highlights of the event,” said head coach Joanne Malar.

“Watching our young swimmers challenge themselves to over 100 lengths and refusing to stop until they met their goals.

Two hours is a long time for youth to swim without stopping, and they really pushed themselves.”

The Orca’s Swim-O-Thon raised $6,900 which will ensure the continued support of the local team that is producing great results in the pool provincially. Last month, the Summerland Orca Swim Team sent two swimmers, Annemarie Lang-Hodge, 13 and Daniel Nixon, 13 to the Swim B.C. AA Championships in Chilliwack.

Both swimmers not only posted best times, but each qualified for finals, which is reserved for the fastest eight swimmers in the field

Lang-Hodge placed eighth in the 100 breast, and Nixon placed fifth in the 50 freestyle and seventh in the 100 butterfly.

“They were both thrilled with their results and their confidence is building to be able to compete with swimmers from the bigger clubs in the province,” Malar said.

Haley Berrisford, 11, was the sole representative at the highest provincial level meet, B.C. AAA Championships.

The championships took place March 1 to 4 at the Surrey Recreational Centre.

Berrisford had recently qualified in one event, the 800 freestyle and that enabled her to race in an additional four events at this championship.

With this being her first AAA competition, Berrisford was not intimidated.

On the first day, she knocked off another 16 seconds in her 800 freestyle to finish seventh overall in a time of 10:55.79.

On the second day, she made finals in her 200 freestyle earning fourth by dropping her best time by seven seconds.

On the third day she again made finals in the 100 freestyle by dropping two seconds off her best time and placing eighth.

On the final day, she raced the 400 freestyle and was challenging the whole way for the bronze medal.   She swam 16 seconds faster than her best time to finish fourth in a very fast and tactical race that she executed perfectly.

“We are so proud of our swimmers,” Malar said. “Their work ethic and ability to rise up to the occasion and race their hearts out fills me with pride. “They are improving so rapidly, and the nice part is that they will continue to excel as they have big goals and dreams that they are working towards every day in workout.” The Swim-o-thon, which is one of the ORCA’s major fundraiser of the year, helps build the club and helps provide the swimmers with the coaching, program and equipment needed to continue their success in the pool.   Special thank you to Linda and Mark Webb for organizing the event and sponsors; the Kenzie Family- McDonald’s Penticton/Osoyoos, Prima Pizza, Edgy Petals, Tim Hortons, Freeride Board Shop and Nickelplate Nordic Centre.

All the swimmers laps accumulated together amassed a grand total of 175 kilometres.


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