Alex Cape (left) swam 94 km and for over 44 hours

Alex Cape (left) swam 94 km and for over 44 hours

Swimmers stop short of record but still not discouraged

Susan Simmons says she’ll be returning to Cowichan Lake next summer for training.

Victoria-based swimmers Susan Simmons and Alex Cape were in Lake Cowichan last weekend to challenge a world record with a 105 km swim attempt on Cowichan Lake. Though the duo stopped short of their goal, Simmons said she’s still happy with the result, as it’s helped them raise both money and awareness for fitness and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Simmons and Cape began their swim at Lakeside Park during the afternoon on July 31. The 105 km swim would have taken them from Lakeview Park to Heather Campsite, back to Lakeview Park, to the northeast arm of the lake near Youbou, then back to Lakeview Park. The swim was expected to take 50 hours and would have broken the previous world record for distance swam in flat water, which was set at 96.5 km by fellow Canadian swimmer Vicki Keith in 1987.

Simmons, who lives with MS, decided to bow out of the swim the next afternoon after making it 44 km. She had become physically sick several hours after the swim began, and with the winds picking up and the waves growing larger, she knew it would be unsafe to continue any further.

“Because I wasn’t able to eat the night before I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish the swim,” Simmons said. “The wind was starting to pick up which would have made me sick again. I knew the stress of vomiting wasn’t good on my body. My legs and arms were numb and I thought I had hypothermia, but it turns out that my MS had been triggered.”

After being checked out by a medic, Simmons joined the crew on a kayak, paddling next to Cape and ensuring she remained coherent. As Cape was swimming ahead, the same waves that proved to be a wall for Simmons actually helped propel her further.

Cape continued the swim through to Bald Mountain, remaining in the water for over 48 hours and completing 94 km, just short of breaking the 96.5 km world record. Simmons joined Cape on the last leg of her swim, acting as a lifeguard and keeping her awake.

Despite stopping short of their 105 km goal, the duo were able to raise $15,000 towards MS fitness programs on Vancouver Island, as well as for Special Olympics Victoria. Simmons said that she’s also glad to have been able to push forward her message of exercise being a legitimate form of treatment for MS.

“I know that other people with MS are looking at me as an example, so I want to do everything safely,” Simmons said. “Everyone has a limit, and when you reach that limit you keep yourself safe… Swimming 44 km and for 18 hours when you’re sick speaks a lot to my fitness level with my MS.”

Prior to the event, Simmons and Cape were asking people to post their own “105s,” or personal goals, online. Over 116 people contributed their 105s to the website (www.whatsyour105.com), which were read out to the duo during their swim. Along with providing inspiration, Simmons said that they also helped keep them coherent, as the crew would shout out the person’s name and the swimmers would reply with what they submitted as their 105.

“The number of people pushing themselves farther than they thought with their goals is something that we need to celebrate,” Simmons said.

Simmons also said that she was pleased with the amount of locals who came out to support them with their own goal last weekend.

“This place will always be home to me because of how the people are,” she said.

Simmons and Cape were also in Lake Cowichan in 2013 and 2014, when they completed a 34 km crossing and a 70 km double-crossing of the lake, respectively. While Simmons is unsure if she’ll be reattempting the 105 km swim or another swim on Cowichan Lake next year, she said that she’ll nonetheless be returning again to train.

“You’ll definitely see me swimming in the waves sometime next summer.”

Just Posted

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Bay man’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

North Cowichan’s senior environment specialist Dr. Dave Preikshot (pictured) said there’s a wide spectrum of views on carbon credits. (File photo)
Carbon credits expected to be part of discussions around forest reserve

North Cowichan acknowledges wide range of views on issue

Blue Moon Marquee from Duncan will be featured at the 2021 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 28. (Submitted)
Blue Moon Marquee to play Vancouver Jazz Festival

What’s coming up in the A&E scene

Sonia Furstenau, MLA
Proposed Health Professions Act would eliminate barriers, guide regulations

Is your doctor a member of good standing with the BC College… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read