Hello swimmers! We can’t wait to see you on Saturday!
We have a few updates and instructions for you. Please read carefully.
Package pickup is from 3pm – 7pm on Thursday, July 14th and Friday, July 15th in the parking lot of the Capital News Centre building (4105 Gordon Drive, Kelowna – here’s a map). Note that we are in the parking lot and not the building. You’ll see us as soon as you turn in to the Capital News Centre parking area.
Please bring your confirmation email with the QR code so we can scan it, either from a printed copy or on your phone. If you don’t have your confirmation handy, we can still look you up.
Yes, friends or family members can pick up your package for you. They will need your confirmation email with QR code, or your registration ID (also found in your confirmation email).
At package pickup you will receive your numbered swim cap and timing chip. The timing chip must go on your ankle over the top of your wetsuit. If it is under your wetsuit, it may not be detected and you won’t get a time. Do not lose your timing chip! There is a $50 charge if you lose it.
You must wear the numbered swim cap we give you. The caps are latex, so if you have an allergy to latex, we can give you a silicone cap in exchange for your latex cap. This can only be done at package pickup.
Arriving in the Morning
We encourage you to arrive early the morning of your swim on July 16th. 6am is best.
Parking is limited in City Park, so the earlier you arrive, the better the chance of securing a parking spot. If you are unable to get a parking spot in City Park, there is plenty of street parking or you can park in the Chapman Parkade, which is two blocks away at 345 Lawrence Ave.
Once you arrive, head to the gear tent to drop off any gear you’d like us to store for you. Place items in a bag and we will tag it for you can keep it safe until you finish your swim.
There are plenty of porta-potties available.
The buses start to leave at 7am with the final bus leaving at approximately 7:20am. Be sure to catch a bus! If you miss the buses, there is no way to get you to the Start Line.
New Swim Start
We’ve modified the swim start with a new start system this year. We no longer have set waves and cap colours. The new ‘Dynamic Swim Start’ is so much more flexible as your swim starts when you cross the timing mat on the shore, and enter the water.
Previously, you had to remember your wave number, make sure you were in the correct area, switch to a different wave if you wanted to swim with other people, listen for your wave to be called, then swim out to the start box and tread water until your wave started.
No more! Now, when you arrive at the start, you can warm up, meet with your friends or family, go pottie, then start whenever you are ready, after 8am. The start mat is open for swimmers to start their swim at 8am.
We encourage faster, competitive participants to load onto the first bus so you can enter the water first to start your swim. Less competitive swimmers can take any bus and head to the start line when you are ready. We encourage you to take a bus to the Start Line as early as you can to avoid any last minute stress.
Please do not head to the start line timing mat until you are ready to start your swim. There is very little room!
Here is an overview map of the swim start area: https://www.screencast.com/t/jdfKSW8jy
The route to the starting mat will be carpeted so you can walk in bare feet. Yes, there are plenty of porta potties available (or one big one if you don’t want to wait in line).
To ease some chaos Saturday morning, we offer support craft drop off at City Park on Friday, July 15th from 5pm to 7pm in our secure area on the beach in front of the washrooms. We have security there overnight watching over everything.
If you wish to drop off your support craft on Saturday morning, you can do so in the south end roundabout in City Park. You will need to drop off your support craft, then park as others also need to drop off their craft.
There is no area at the Start Line to launch your craft so you will need to paddle across from City Park. It roughly takes 30 minutes to paddle across the lake to the Start Line.
Paddler’s must sign the waiver and you or they can bring it to package pickup, the drop off Friday night, or the info tent the morning of the swim. Here is a link to download the Support Craft waiver.
Once your paddler reaches the Start Line, they should be within the Support Craft area, between the white swim buoys and the shoreline. See the diagram here: https://www.screencast.com/t/2NOCI54o0.
Important! It is your responsibility to find your support paddler. All swimmers look the same in the water, so it is very difficult for your paddler to find you. Encourage your paddler to wear something bright, or a big hat, or attach balloons to their craft so they are easy to spot. DO NOT ATTACH BALLOONS TO YOURSELF! They will not stay inflated for your entire swim and can interfere with your swimming and others around you. You will not be allowed to swim if you attach balloons to yourself.
We recommend communicating with your support paddler to meet you near a specific white swim buoy. For example: “Let’s meet at the 4th buoy”.
Once you meet up, your support craft should always be on the right or bridge side. They should paddle slightly ahead of you roughly at your 2 o’clock. This way, they will always be in your sight and can help guide you across. If you need to stop and rest, signal to your support paddler to stop. You can hold on to their craft as long as you are not moving forward. Alternately, if you have a Swim Buddy, you can stop, hug your Swim Buddy, rollover on your back and rest.
You did it! You accomplished an amazing feat; you swam across Okanagan Lake!
As you get closer to the Finish Line, start kicking your feet a little more. When swimming in a wetsuit for a length of time, your feet tend to do little work, so when you stand up at the finish, your legs may be a little wobbly. If you start kicking more as you get closer, blood goes back to your feet and they wake up!
We have volunteers at the shore edge to help you if you need it. They will not lift you out of the water unless you specifically ask for help – we want you to finish on your own. Of course, if it’s something more serious, they will be there for you (you don’t need to ask!).
There are two mats on the beach. The first mat is for identification only and does not stop your time. The second mat stops your time and is approximately 5m from the shoreline. The moral of the story: do not stop after crossing the first timing mat thinking your time has stopped! You must cross the second mat to stop your time.
Running up the beach to the second mat is doable, but not encouraged or necessary. The amount of time you will save by running up the beach with your heavy legs is negligible. It’s better to stop, take your time to get your land legs back, turn around and look at what you just accomplished, then continue to the second mat.
After you finish, a volunteer will take off your timing chip. Do not bend down to take it off yourself! There is a high probability you’ll go head first into the sand. We’ve seen it. Let us do it for you.
Enjoy light food and refreshments, as well as a bunch of giveaways and awards. There is a photo backdrop so you can have photos taken to prove you finished!
Our photographer will be on site taking photos, so be sure to clear your snot away. Again, we’ve seen it.
Have an amazing swim!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see you on Saturday!