Fans gather for friends and family who joined in the 71st annual Across the Lake Swim on July 20. Donna Rubadeau finished with a 01:45:50 time. Photo: Teressa Brunton/Capital News

Across the Lake Swim sees biggest turn-out in 71 years at Okanagan Lake

There were 1325 racers registered for this year’s iconic swim

It wasn’t the best weather for this year’s Across the Lake Swim, but it was the largest turn-out.

There were 1325 swimmers registered for the 2.1-kilometre race through Okanagan Lake on July 20, as well as a record number of young racers in the Kid’s Shore Splash events.

“The race has become more of a family bucket list event now,” said race director Peter Rudd.

“It’s the iconic race of the year, and people are doing it to challenge themselves. This year went really smooth.”

READ MORE: Canadian summer rite of passage: The Okanagan Lake Bridge

READ MORE: Kelowna swimmer heads south to grow her career

Justice Migneault swam the best time this year. The Maple Ridge swimmer took home first place with a 23:31:0 timing while Kelowna’s Molly Hill and Axana Merckx finished third and fourth respectively. Hill finished at 24:21:0 and Merckx only a second later at 24:22:0.

The Across the Lake Swim is the longest-running and largest annual open water event in Canada and celebrated its 71st race this year. Since 1949, the race has hosted swimmers from around the world and of all age groups.

“The youngest swimmer this year was a 7-year-old and the eldest was 83,” said Rudd.

The race also welcomed a duo from Wales; the Across the Lake Swim was one of 70 races across the world the pair is swimming to celebrate their 70th birthdays.

READ MORE: Kelowna Aquajets swim to 11th place finish in U.S. competition

The swim is organized by the Across the Lake Swim Society that supports safe, open-water swimming for kids across the Okanagan. Money raised by the society funds the YMCA Okanagan Swims programs and has raised over $145,000 since 2012 and has sent over 16,000 kids to swim programs.

Young swimmers Justin Rebstock and Gage Meyers were the winners at this year’s Kid’s Shore Splash.

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