ATLS Ribbon won by Joanne Ritchie in 1972

ATLS Ribbon won by Joanne Ritchie in 1972

The Across The Lake Swim began in 1949 and is the longest running and largest annual open water event in Canada. It is also the last event left from the early Kelowna Regatta. The Kelowna Masters Swim Club took over the administration of the Swim Across The Lake from the City of Kelowna in 1986. Back then, the swim started at 6pm on a Friday and ended in City Park which was fenced off as part of the 3 day Regatta.  After the Kelowna Regatta ended in 1988 the swim was moved to Saturday morning. An accompanying canoe was mandatory and the swim became part of the (now folded) BC Open Water Swim Race Series.

The Kelowna Masters Swim Club had organized the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim as part of its club activities. However, the surging growth and interest in open water swimming and the Interior Savings Across The Lake Swim mandated more dedicated attention than to just be part of any one swim club. Therefore the organizers created a non-profit society to promote the event and important skills involved in open water swimming. Five veterans of previous ATLS organizing committees became the founding members of the new Across The Lake Swim Society (ATLSS), which was registered in November 2009.

The ATLSS had its first annual general meeting in September 2010.

The Across the Lake Swim has been gaining popularity every year and sells out earlier year after year. What once was a swim of just 400 participants just a few short years ago, has now grown to include over 1200 swimmers. And, the swim was recently recognized as one of the top swims in the world by openwaterpedia.com

Do you know any history about the swim?

Unfortunately the details of the early history of the Across the Lake Swim are little known and we are looking for any tidbits of information that can help us piece together this incredible event. If you have any information such as pictures, newsclips, or if you even swam or watched it years ago, please contact us as we would love to hear from you.