Vicky's Swim Buddy got eaten by a sturgeon.

Living Well – Another one for the Bucket List

Coach Vicky Trill trains for an upcoming 7k swim across Okanagan Lake.

A Hollywood movie called “The Bucket List” has made people think about what they’d like to accomplish before they “kick the bucket.”. In the movie, a man whose days have been numbered, makes a list of items he wants to complete before he dies.

I have heard the phrase “bucket list” referred to a lot since the movie. It seems people have put some thought into what kinds of adventures they’d like to experience in this one life they have to live.

One of the items on my bucket list is to complete a long distance swim. I have some athletic friends who have accomplished running marathons: They tell me they run for relaxation and fun.

I have not felt this way about running, however I do feel this way about swimming. So in the spring I signed up and started training for a 7 km open water swim in Okanagan Lake on Aug. 9.

As soon as I signed up, I felt sick to my stomach. The most I’d swam at one time was 3 km, so to do more than double that all at once… Well, I had no idea what that would be like.

I began swimming drills in the pool, just 40 minutes to one hour per workout, which usually translated to a couple kilometres. When the weather warmed, I could finally get into a lake and do a longer open water swim. I donned my full length wet suit, and my swim cap and goggles. I had my trusty kayaker to accompany me (Alf) and my “swim buddy” attached to my waist (a bright orange inflated buoy that floats behind me). I was ready, I thought.

Open water swimming has its own set of challenges – waves, currents, living things in the water, and the feeling of being in the middle of a big body of water, far away from any land. On my first training swim in the open water I swam most of the 4 km in whitecaps, but after encouraging words from my kayaker and a will to finish, I managed to finish it.

The “living things” don’t worry me.  Well, not until my Uncle informed me that there are 15 foot white fish in Kamloops Lake where I have been swimming. So when I did my next training swim, I noticed some whiter colour below me and started thinking about what my uncle said. Right about that time, my hand touched my “swim buddy” which made me scream and jump. Whew! Just my swim buddy, not a huge sturgeon, haha!

As for the big water with land very far away, well… having a kayak with you and/or other swimmers seems to alleviate that fear.

This past weekend, I did my longest training swim – 6 km. Slower than I had hoped, but I think now I’m ready for the 7 km swim. After a little more training, I will head to Peachland where, on Aug. 9, I’ll swim from the beach, across Okanagan Lake, around Rattlesnake Island and back to shore again. I’m excited and nervous. Whatever the weather or circumstances, I want to finish well and check one more adventure off my “bucket list.”

Vicky Trill

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