Four of the youngest swimmers setting to swim across Okanagan Lake this Saturday in Kelowna’s Across the Lake Swim are Danae Willms, Chloe Chambers, Sydney Campbell and Georgia Gordon.

Each of them have been practicing their skills through the YMCA Okanagan Swims program, which is offered free to all grade three children in School District #23. Generously funded by the Across the Lake Swim Society, this program is designed to help ‘drown-proof’ local children and give them the skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. The girls have each participated in this program throughout the year and are now in an extended part of the program to give them support and encouragement for the big swim.

“I’m very excited to be able to swim across the lake, but a little nervous,” says Danae. “I hope the Ogopogo doesn’t catch me!” exclaimed Chloe. Each of the girls feel prepared for this weekend’s race and have loved being able to improve their swimming and train for the race at the Y.

All four of these little swimmers will have a YMCA lifeguard swimming by their side during the Across the Lake Swim to coach them along and keep them safe in the water. A total of over 50 YMCA lifeguards will be on the water during the event to ensure the safety of all 1200 participants.

“It is really a team effort,” says YMCA Senior Aquatics Manager, Randall Wight. “We have been lifeguarding the Across the Lake Swim for the last four years and it is always amazing to get so many YMCA hands on deck to help ensure its safety and success. We are proud to partner with the Across the Lake Swim Society for this event in addition to the support we receive from them for the YMCA Okanagan Swims program.”

Learn more about this impactful community program at ymcaokanagan.ca

Photo: Danae Willms and Chloe Chambers—YMCA Okanagan Swims program participants