Celebrity swim makes splash during KISU’s 30th birthday

KISU’s 30th birthday put members, alumni and parents to the test.

KISU’s 30th birthday put members, alumni and parents to the test.

It started with the Tim Horton’s polar bear swim at Okanagan Lake, celebrity swim meet and wrapped up with a banquet on Feb. 25.

Among those participating in the celebrity swim were Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton, fire chief Wayne Williams and local triathlete Jeffrey Symonds.

KISU swim coach Tina Hoeben said the day was great.

“We’ve never done anything like it before and I’ve always wanted to connect and acknowledge the rich history of swimming in our community,” said Hoeben, who has been involved with the club for 14 years. “This was one way to do that and hopefully only the beginning. Now that we’ve done it once, we have a much better connection to the network of people who have been a part of KISU in the past.”

Prior to the celebrity swim, the club unveiled banners for Andrew Kennedy, Keagan Abbie, Bobby Harling and a 30th anniversary banner for the club.

Kennedy, who competed on the University of Toronto swim team, was able to participate in the birthday celebration. The timing was just right as he chose to come home for reading break while he studies law at Queen’s University.

“I’m super happy that they included me in everything,” said Kennedy, who was happy to see his name on one of the unveiled banners. “I feel it’s a great honour because it’s really long in history. I’m just glad to be along for the ride. I feel lucky to have been part of such a great club.”

Hoeben enjoyed the celebrity swim, which included different team efforts.

“I have to confess that I was too busy swimming and trying to win the relay event to watch much of anything else,” she said. “It was great to have the celebrities from different parts of our community involved.”

Prior to the swim, mayor Ashton said he was going to be the big splash going in the water. When asked if he had a strategy for the event he said, “I’m going to hook onto the strongest swimmer and let them tow me along.”

“I swim like a rock actually,” said Ashton.

KISU president Andrew MacPhail felt the day was well received.

“It was a good thing to do,” said MacPhail, adding they will try to make the birthday an annual celebration, but stated city support will be needed.

He felt the best part of the day was the celebrity swim.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said.

Hoeben and MacPhaail both said they enjoyed meeting people associated with the club in the past and hearing their stories. She also enjoyed reflecting on the impact that the club has had in the community and on individual swimmers and their families.