Adam Ellenstein unofficially established a Guinness World Record for the fastest, non-stop, lengthwise swim of Okanagan Lake.
Ellenstein completed the 105-kilometre swim starting in Vernon (65 miles) in an unofficial time of 40 hours, 47 minutes.
He stepped out of the water to the cheers from an estimated 200-plus people at SS Sicamous Heritage Park at 10:46 p.m. PDT.
He faced some challenges. His left shoulder began to tighten on him in Kelowna and Ellenstein began experiencing hallucinations near the end.
“I’d see cartoon characters popping their head out from behind the mountains off in the distance,” said Ellenstein, 39, an ultra-distance triathlete from Detroit, Mich. “At one point I thought I had pink pigs swimming in the water next to me. It was pretty interesting to kind of have those experiences.”
Ellenstein was warned by his crew members the hallucinations were a possibility and for him to push through. They encouraged him to remain focused on his goal.
As for the shoulder problem, he was forced to swim the rest of the way from Rattlesnake Island using only his right arm. Ellenstein said it was quite difficult to complete the goal. Swimming with his right arm for the final 13 hours interrupted his rhythm.
With 14 miles remaining, he estimated it would take eight hours to reach Penticton. It ended up taking 14 hours.
“We had some pretty strong winds too,” he said. “The crosswinds and the tail wind. It was churning the water up quite a bit.”
Ellenstein said the swim exceeded his expectations and it was all because of his crew.
“My job was to swim and eat — the crew did everything else,” Ellenstein said in a press release.
Ellenstein came up with the idea of calling it VictorySwim105 to raise awareness and support to benefit those with Parkinson’s disease through a partnership with the Davis Phinney Foundation. He also did the swim for his aunt, Susan
Scarlett, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last fall.
“During the most challenging moments, my admiration for my aunt, Susan Scarlett, and her commitment to live well with Parkinson’s, was the motivation to continue. Each stroke was a demonstration of my love and support of Susan.”
Ellenstein feels he has brought more awareness to the disease.
“We’ve had such an outcry of support from that community. We know that we reached a lot of people,” he said. “We had swimmers in seven or eight countries that were swimming with us during various times.”
Leading up to VictorySwim105, Ellenstein and the Davis Phinney Foundation encouraged people around the world to get involved by completing a swim of their own at a local pool or other body of water or by making a donation. People can still do both through the end of the week at ow.ly/Y0nb301Gfsa.
A Guinness World Records Adjudicator must still evaluate evidence — including videos, photos, independent witness statements and GPS tracking information — to verify and confirm Ellenstein’s Guinness World Records title.
According to Openwaterpedia, his swim of nearly 41 hours is among the top 30, by time in the water, in the history of open water swimming.
“I was feeling very fulfilled and loved,” said Ellenstein when he finished. “We had a tremendous turnout at the beach, which I didn’t expect or anticipate. Steve King, who is a good friend of mine, from the Ultraman Worlds, was there announcing. Getting the crowd cheered up. A few feet left until I first touched the sand, I really heard the crowd for the first time. When I actually stood up and got my balance under me, having my crew there with me, to hug and let those emotions fly, it was especially meaningful in Penticton because of the support we had from the community. I give a big shout out and thank you to the community and all the people that came out waited — maybe a bit longer than they had anticipated. We feel certainly loved by the community and that’s why we chose Okanagan Valley.”