2018 Sun City Swim and … “Wil’s Swim with the Fishes”

Wil Wegman

Saturday August 11, 2018 seemed like a long ways off way back in March, but as soon as I heard the date, I quickly marked it down in my calendar for the annual Sun City Swim in Orillia.

This year would be my 6th swim, 4km across Lake Couchiching and I desperately wanted to try and break my Personal Best Time of three years prior when I swam it in just over 1 hour 27 minutes. I recall the incredible disappointment I felt at the end of last year’s swim, when despite a significant headwind, I still believed I was quicker than ever – only to learn I sure as heck wasn’t … at 1:33 minutes.  I realized soon afterwards that just because I was determined to beat that 1:27 time, that strong will alone was not enough to make it magically happen.  I had to make some major changes and I was prepared to do just in 2018. 

Increased Training:
So at the start of the year I came to grips with the fact that my regular 1km, 4-5 days per week routine was not enough. That regimen was fine for five years and is great at keeping me in half decent shape … but it just wouldn’t do if I truly expected – not just wanted to set a new Personal Best across the lake in August. So … I began by swimming a few extra laps during the week and taking fewer ‘breast stroke-rest stroke’ lengths. I realized I can’t do too much more than 1km each day through the week due to work and pool closure at 7:30am, but I could try to increase my speed and endurance. The big change came on weekends. Minimum one day of an hour in the pool … more than twice as long as I usually stay. 

That was a big deal mentally more than anything cause after half an hour my routine-trained mind is usually telling me to get the heck out.  I also began to use my Garmin watch more to track my times and to try and outdo myself once in a while.

I sought out opportunities to swim with others (especially much better swimmers) in the same lane on busier weekends as incentive and motivation. I looked at occasions to even swim with ‘lane hawgs’ or those who push a big wake or to battle with three per lane instead of two (fortunately not a very common occurrence in my hometown Bradford Pool) … All these challenges could make me a stronger swimmer physically and perhaps most importantly mentally, helping to overcome minor trials and tribulations while crossing the lake in August.

A New Personal Best in the Pool:
In mid-April … after plenty of this increased training regimen I somehow found myself in the midst of a personal challenge.  It began one Sunday, when I swam 3km in just over an hour.  I figured that wasn’t too bad and that there should be no reason I couldn’t do 3 k in one hour.  So the next Saturday I tried again … determined to do just that.  Nope! I was a couple minutes late to the 7:30am start and by 8:30 everyone had to get out of the pool- closed!  Darn!  I was so close.  The next day … despite my 58 year old body telling me I should take it easy … I wanted to give it another shot.  I jumped in and had the whole lane to myself – perfect for this challenge. One quarter of the way through, someone else jumped in and we did ‘sides’ but when ½ way in, a 3rd human entered the lane we were forced to do ‘circles.’ Circles are fine and can be motivating if everyone is of fairly equal swimming strength but that 3rd person was uber slow to say the least! 

“Oh no … I can’t believe I just did that!”  Passing others with three in a lane sometimes isn’t kosher but there are times it really has to be done, and during the turns in the shallow end, diving way down and under your fellow slow lane swimmer is rather unorthodox but I must admit that’s exactly what I did and felt I had to do, to achieve my goal. I actually became rather proficient at that move and somehow that potential deterrent may have helped me speed up even more let alone work like a charm to get out of their way and avoid a collisionJ.   During that swim I didn’t take any breaks (I usually rest for a minute minute after each ½ km) and minimized my breast strokes – just focussed (maybe even somewhat obsessed) on getting that Personal Best …  Strange part about it all was that I realized how all of this ‘isn’t me’ … It’s craziness I thought!

The end result? … The equivalent of three km in less than one hour! A new PB in the pool.  I must admit I was pretty pleased with myself.

App

My Garmin watch device records my time and I can review daily results on my smart phone afterwards

This shows results from my first to third tries for a Personal Best in the pool

More Training:
From there I would routinely do 2-3 km (one km=40 lengths of our 25 metre pool) on weekends.  I wouldn’t try for any more PB’s … and even more meaningful, I was able to meet and share lanes with some very cool and inspiring new (to Bradford) swimmers due to my extra time in the water.  One was Nicole – who had just returned to swimming laps after taking a year off to have a baby (great reason) – proving you can easily pick it up again ‘just like riding a bike’ … And then there was young Logan, who has the epitome of a swimmers body – long, slender and powerful.  She has her eyes on Laurentian University (largely because they have such a great swim team) in a couple years when she finishes high school. Watching her do a flip-turn and swim half the distance of the pool face-up underwater … is absolutely a thing of beauty- nothing but awe and admiration for this fine young lady! Trying to keep up with her was just futile … but fun. You go girl – all the way!

For the weeks and months that followed, my new normal became the ‘do whatever extra I can during the week’ followed by twice that on weekends.  Of course ice fishing did get in the way here and there especially near the end of the season when the fish really turned on … but that was a good thing because fishing still is Number One – it defines me to a large extent and will always be my primary passion.

Wet Suit Needed ... Prize Package Offered

I was convinced by the results of the 2017 Sun City Swim, that those who consistently place near the top wear a wet suit. I had always figured it was primarily for either added warmth – something I really didn’t need because I don’t mind cool water and Cooch is seldom below 72F in August, or for buoyancy. Some swimmers … good or bad are floaters – no effort to stay high in the water like me… others are sinkers … They are not naturally super buoyant or high up in the water. So I always thought the buoyant wet suit would help them the most. I learned from speaking with others that yes the buoyancy is key for all swimmers who want to increase their speed – even floaters will be more buoyant and see less resistance and better speed. So … I was determined to get one.  I thought I should first try through Bass Pro Shops, whom as an accredited Outdoor Writer and fishing seminar host, I’ve had a long standing relationship. With their Outdoor Writer program discount no longer available, I wasn’t sure what could be worked out … but Katie, their Head Office Communications Manager came through in spades! Not only would she send me a wet suit at no charge, she’ll provide a $50 BPS gift card towards my swim!

That card gave me an idea!  Match the value of it, with an equal value of Rapala tackle and HT ice fishing tackle … and offer it as a $150 prize package to all those who contribute $25.00 or more towards my Swim WithThe Fishes Campaign as part of the fundraising efforts for the Simcoe Muskoka Child Advocacy Centre for abused kids!  So … at the start of July I wrote and sent out a press release announcing my fundraising efforts had begun with three new angles; 1) that there was a new prize incentive; 2) that I was going to try set a new PB and swim it better than 1hour 27 minutes; 3) that I was gonna swim in that wet suit for the first time in my life.

Wet Suit Arrives

It arrived in the mail … two weeks before the swim. Oh man, I figured I had better practice in it for a bit to get used to it.  I tried it on at home … a little tight, especially around the neck – but ‘Large’ was definitely the right size according to my height and weight.  My first few laps in the pool and OMG … it was really choking me.  I’ll never be able to do this with this monkey suit on I said to myself. I reached down and undid the zipper and Velcro neck strap a bit. Whew that felt better - tried swimming, no choking, but it was filling with water up front … argh!  I re-adjusted, tightened just a bit.  It felt ok and no water got in. That worked ok.  Next day, I just had to find the sweet spot – no choking sensation and no water entry. Got it … didn’t feel too bad … but then again something seemed not right.

I got out of the pool and headed for the smaller relaxation pool. Tory … the young cheery – and one of my favorite Life Guards walked over to me and in a kind and soft voice so others wouldn’t hear … said “Wil … You have that suit on backwards!”   “OMG! ARE YOU SURE?  The tag is in the back, XPS logos are in the front and it looks like it’s designed to be worn like this?”  “Nope … I’m sure Wil,” she said! … “I’ve worn plenty for water skiing and wake boarding … and that’s why they put that big long strap on the zipper- so you can reach around and grab it easily to zip yourself up or down,” she replied. “Oh man – you’re right Tory … I’m such a Doofus!”  “No, no” she said sweetly … “it’s an honest mistake” … but she couldn’t help but grin and chuckle while she said it … so joining right along with her, we had a good all-round laugh at myself!

Day after day, for the next two weeks I wore that darned monkey suit as I began to call it, the right way – zipper in back. I did get used to it I guess and without question knew my times were getting a little better … not by leaps and bounds but noticeably enough!  I did have one other kind of embarrassing incident with it on, and that was when I reached around back to loosen it after a swim; the zipper wouldn’t budge! Hmm- I better work on this in the relaxation pool! I did.  It wouldn’t budge and I tried everything.  I pictured myself in the dressing room- unable to take it off.   Being forced to walk out, with it on and drive home. But then what- no one was there at that time! Finally, I walked over to a guard (not sure of his name) at the relaxation pool and for the first (and hopefully last) time in my life said “Hey bud … can you please do me a favor and try to unzip me?  He did, finally figuring out where it was stuck while others looked on and he freed me from my monkey-suit prison! Whew- what a relief!

On the Thursday before the swim, I finally remembered to bring my swim cap because those need to be worn by all Sun City swimmers day of.  I hate wearing them but had to get used to it again. My ears plugged up and it was tight and uncomfortable and I know … “boo-hoo … who cares”! I took the next day off from swimming. For the last 5 years, I haven’t swam laps the Friday before the lake swim so I did that again this year; not wanting to break the annual ritual.  

Wil’s Swim With the Fishes Fundraising Campaign:
Since 2013 when I did my first 4km swim ever at this Sun City Charity Swim, I was determined to give the fundraising campaign the effort it deserved.  For the first couple of years, all the funds would go towards the local Soldiers Memorial Hospital and their neo natal care unit.   That was something I could get behind and thought others could too- but who and why would anyone elect to sponsor me to raise a few bucks for the cause. I tried to think of folks who might contribute and it dawned on me most were anglers. I then thought perhaps I could target much of my efforts then at the angling community here in Ontario that I am so tight with.  Somehow, that Swim With the Fishes moniker popped-up in my head and I decided to run … er swim with it! I’ve used it ever since as a slogan and attention grabber for my fundraising efforts.  That first year more than exceeded my expectations – raising just over $2,000; more than any other swimmer and earning myself a nice handmade Muskoka Chair.  I learned firsthand about the powers of social media, especially Facebook … but also relied on my old standby to get the broader news out – a well thought out press release covering the basic 5 W’s sent out to local media and outdoor writers.

I soon realized after that first year I would get a kick out of seeing contributions and words of encouragement come in to my online Canada Helps Giving Page. (What a way better system than passing a pledge sheet around!)  My buddy Elliott for example, who has since passed away donated $100 and said he’d double that if I truly swam with the fishes and tied a cinderblock to my leg during the swim! Hilarious!

That year I swam the 4km with a family friend we’ve known since she was a baby and I couldn’t have been more proud of Malerie completing the entire swim using breast stroke in a very respectable time. For both of us, it was all about making it across and we did!

When I look back, it’s funny to think I spent so much time practicing treading water in the pool back in Bradford my first year of lap swimming… thinking I’d have to do a lot of that to rest while attempting 4k across the lake.  Little did I know, I  had a bit of a competitive edge in me for something besides fishing and that there was no way I’d stop to rest while a bunch of others behind me caught up and passed … oh man I surprised myself at that back then.

So, back to fundraising in 2018 … Within minutes of posting news about the Canada Helps fundraising page, BFF Mel was first to contribute and doubled her contribution from last year … so I figured that was a great start. During my first week, thanks especially to an amazing $500 donation from Deb – a dear family friend, I was able to hit $1,000 raised.  I figured then that a $2,000 goal was not out of reach, so I shot for that. I was especially encouraged when our town mayor (Rob Keffer who once came out to a fishing seminar I was hosting to welcome the crowd) even made a generous contribution! I realized though that after the initial media and Facebook push that I couldn’t just sit back and wait for more donations to come in like I did in 2014 when I raised only $995. So I sent a direct email with the release to my Aurora Bassmaster club members, key contacts and posted on every fishing ‘Facebook Group” I was part of. 

I was also very fortunate to have my friend John Winters … producer of the Outdoor Journal Radio Show on Toronto’s Fan 590 contact me to see if I was available like the other previous five years to talk about my Swim with the Fishes. It’s always a great way to spread news about the Swim and great work of the Child Advocacy Centre.

Out of the Box Thinking to Raise Funds for Child Advocacy Centre:

I then looked at a map of all the businesses within one km of the Child Advocacy Centres located in Barrie and in Orillia. Then I looked on line for contact details to each company … and sent them each a personal email about the great work of the Centre so close to them, about the Sun City Swim to help raise funds and how they can easily contribute to this local charity.  All this helped garner a few extra contributions.

Realizing with the way Facebook works, that for many followers it would still be the first time they’re hearing about the swim.  So, it was no real surprise that as we drew closer to the August swim date and our $2,000 goal, contributions began stagnating a bit. At the risk of being too pesky I posted more updates on Facebook. I tried different topics to spice it up, like previous Personal Best Times and expectations to beat those, how I hoped the wet suit would help, how great everyone was for contributing, and that there are prizes this year. That seemed worthwhile because with a week left, we hit that magic $2,000 goal and with a couple of last minute updates the night before the swim and even morning of, we hit $2,866 raised! 

Ironically enough as it turned out, one of those last minute contributions came from Ann-Marie who tried to log onto the Canada Helps Giving Page but it said the fundraiser was over.  I quickly messaged the lead organizer- Louise Jones who explained how to fix this glitch and it worked! Ann Marie then made that contribution no problem.   Almost as cool as the financial support were all the many words of encouragement provided on the giving page by the contributors. 

Just a few samples of comments from those who contributed to Wil's Swim With the Fishes

  • Have a great swim, Wil! It still amazes me that you can swim 4km, you're basically part fish! -Monica
  • Good luck, stay away from those muskies that you have been stocking!! Steve
  • Wil, you are my hero! I think you are awesome and I know you have been training a lot so don't let those fish distract you...lol! Carolyn
  • Just keep swimming! Jingjing
  • You have to share any fishing spots you see while swimming Couch. Great job for charity. Dave
  • Way to go Wil! You are truly an inspiration! Emma
  • It's good works such as this that helped put you in the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame, Wil! Have a great swim. Patrick
  • Good luck Wil! I hope the weather is good and the water is calm! I will do this swim again with you someday!!!! Malerie
  • Wishing you calm waters and a record-breaking swim both in your personal time & your fundraising totals for a very worthy cause! Ruth
  • Good luck, Wil. Swim like you're being chased by a hungry Asian carp. Deb
  • Hey Wil, good luck and if u see any big smallies get those spots on your GPS and I’ll trade u for my whitties spots. All the best – John
  • You’re going to do awesome this year Wil with all your training! Mel

Swim Day Saturday August 11:
I was lucky to have a decent night sleep, get up at 5am, watch Jay’s in 30, power back 2 ½ cups of strong black coffee, eat a tomato, cheese & mayo on toast, and prepare my ½ litre of yogurt with fresh blueberries, bananas and peaches for the road.  My brother Paul, who would be my spotter in our kayak for the 2nd straight year, arrived at 6am sharp from Port Perry just like he said … and together with my wife Loretta, we headed off to the Fern Resort with the kayak already strapped above my Ford F150.

We got the kayak off the truck, unloaded what we needed and off I went to get changed into my monkey suit.  I saw some of the more experienced swimmers were wearing the full-on suit with long sleeves and legs covered. A couple had on regular swim suits and just slipped on their monley suit overtop near the water.  Oops, maybe going commando under mine wasn’t the standard protocol … oh well, not gonna change that or me now!  I did talk to a nice young swimmer though who explained that sleek thinner and shinier suits like hers are meant to glide through water easier – so that was duly noted. I also got to chatting with Toby … who came all the way from Nanaimo BC (where my son Tyler and I visited last September - link to article and pics here Wil & Tyler's Amazing trip to BC ) to swim this … and visit relatives in Orillia.   He is a pretty cool dude and we actually became FB friends and have chatted since the swim.

I walked back to see Paul in the kayak, unloaded some of my clothes in the compartments for the other side and then headed to my take-off area.   As I did, I noticed some poor sucker had dropped their underpants near a bench. “Ha – glad I wasn’t near that bench cause that’s something I’ve done a few times” … but they did look rather similar as I walked by.

Swimmers

Getting Ready For Take Off ... We had our standard group photo … There would be 29 of us making the 4km swim across a gorgeous unprecedented 'calm' Lake Couchiching and there were less than ½ a dozen for the 1k. It was supposed to start for us at 8:05 but we were asked to jump in around 8:00. Don't tell anyone but sheepishly, I began my standard – ‘oh no gotta pee so I don’t think about it while swimming’ routine. How would that work within the new monkey suit? Ah, free flowing relief came quickly - that was nice for a change … crisis and pressure averted … things really were going swimmingly so far and the swim hadn’t even started yet.

Then I saw an official suddenly raise a bell in his right hand and begin shaking … “Oh no, it’s starting a couple minutes early and I haven’t set my Garmin watch yet”.  I hastily fumble with it, wanting to record the swim electronically this year.  I screw up a couple times … I’m used to that … and a big group gets ahead of me … used to that too. Got it I think! I jump in and start swimming quickly hoping to catch up … nope – after 200-300 hundred metres of that nonsense, I give up trying to catch the first wave and focus instead on just my own swim and Paul’s guidance in our big yellow kayak. 

That first kilometre is always tough – mentally and a bit physically for me and this year was no exception.  Although I saw a few small fish along the way, it was around the 750 metre mark that I noticed a beautiful smallmouth bass cruise beneath me quietly along bottom but it was the only piscatorial swim with the fishes distraction I really had.

Swim Straight Already! My big deal is always swimming straight. My right arm is way more powerful than my left so I keep heading in towards Orillia when I should be heading further out towards Couchiching Beach.  I blame my stronger right arm and messed up left hand (that’s a whole other story) but there just might also be some hidden instinct in me to head straight into the Port of Orillia, as I’ve routinely done dozens of times annually since 1986 when I first started fishing bass tournaments on Cooch.  It’s still one of my favorite places to fish after all these years whether for fun or competition and I’m sure my boat could get to their excellent boat launch on its own … it’s been there so many times.  Despite Paul’s excellent guidance to keep me on track, at one point I had to swim about 100 metres on a right angle to get back to the right of the marker buoy.  I’d love to see buoys at every 500 metres instead of 1km and a lane way - one on each side, would be awesome for wayward swimmers such as myself.

Lake Couchiching

The start of the 2018 Sun City Swim. Final destination 4km away on the opposite shore - not the island

For a good part of the swim, I was within reach of a single swimmer ahead of me and for at least 2 km I used him/her as motivation to speed up.  Somehow I lost sight of that swimmer and spotter on my right, but another – maybe even the same swimmer magically appeared 400 metres or so ahead and to my left and I managed to pass them. At about the halfway mark a cramp in my right foot just above my ankle began to develop and I forced myself not to panic.  I let that foot glide and pulled the ankle back which helped.  Just a minute of that nonsense while still swimming and it had worked itself out.  "Whew Lucky! … I’ve never had a cramp during this swim and didn’t want to start now". 

I minimized breast/rest stroke throughout the swim and tried to keep my head as low as possible.  At well over the half way mark my brother said “You’re right on track bro … Straight to shore here and he signalled up and down with his arm.  That’s when I put my head down and just poured it on for about 750 metres … consciously kicking hard and doing a more of a windmill turn with my arms for the front crawl.  This would result in a noisy slap hand entry … something I wasn’t used to in the pool.  However I sometimes see/hear my buddy Carlos swim that way in the pool and can he ever boogy! I got a kick out of trying something new during a swim like this but it was a highly unconventional stray-from-the norm move for me I must admit. It helped make the swim more fun, less monotonous if nothing else.  It’s crazy to try it during a competition though ... almost akin my angling brethren to trying a completely new lure during a productive tournament day when you know and have faith in your tried and true baits.    

Then for the last 250 metres before the last 3km buoy, I could begin to see where we were landing and eased up a bit.  I did some breast stroke, eased off on my front crawl and then more breast stroke.  I pulled more coontail weed off from around my neck (no bigee - loose floating strands of this great bass-holding aquatic plant gather around the big km-markers) and decided it’s now or never!  I could see the yellow school bus straight ahead on shore where we were to land. I’d give it all I had for that last one kilometre – no holding back. 

I tried to put into practice an efficient, fast and controllable swim for the last km and utilize a couple of key tips I learned from friends in the pool. One was from Carlos … who stressed I need to bring one hand like it’s coming down upon the other in front of me.  If anyone knows about hand and arm placement it’s him … He’s all upper body and arm strength which got him across lake’s Ontario and Erie before – all without having any legs! He’s a real inspiration.  read about Carlos here The other tip was from my pool buddy Emiel who has told me to swim with my head way down.  I’ve been instructed to look straight down before by multiple Lake Swimmer and Coach Marianna Koljubakin who was also Carlos’ coach across Lake Erie, but for this pig headed swimmer that straight forward advice wasn’t enough.  My noggin creates a lot of resistance and the more it’s submerged the better.  I focussed on that as I gave it all I had for the last km.

It’s amazing that the mind can not only block out what it wants and when it wants to,  but sometimes even grab hold of those thoughts to spur you on to go further and faster than you ever thought you could. I began to think of my training regimen in the pool where I really never swim 4km (just twice in 6 years) but I quickly set those thoughts aside because I still felt good and know I usually get a second wind later in the swim. Sure I was beginning to realize how tired I was and felt the muscles starting to ache, but what I could do to stop that?  I knew not a thing – except revel in it all and still carry on with the ultimate goal… As corny as it sounds I wanted this Personal Best not just for myself but for my family and friends who supported me.  I didn’t want to let them down … and especially not the kids who need the Simcoe Muskoka Child Advocacy Centre.

When I was within 100 metres of shore I could hear the crowd ‘cheering me on’ like they do for all swimmers … but I guess truth be told, it was more for this blockhead to stop swimming straight towards the big moored floating dock that was easily seen by all others on the left side of thebeach. Because of that stronger right arm, this goofball swam right towards it – dah! I quickly changed course last second, got up onto my feet when it was too shallow to swim and clumsily ran towards the time keeper and some pretty young girl who put a medallion around my neck. 

The time keeper yells my time to me.  “What? 1 hour 20 - what minutes? Huh” I say. “1:20 even” is yelled back. “That can’t be right,” I say.  “Well 1 hour 20 minutes and 46 seconds then!”  Oh man … it wasn’t sinking in … but somehow I had not only just set a new Personal Best but I shaved off almost 7 minutes from my previous best time. Crap I did it!

alt

Wil credits his XPS wet suit as being part of the reason he was able to shave almost 7 minutes off his previous Personal Best. Amazingly calm conditions and all the extra training are the other two very key factors

As we waited for more swimmers to come in, I got to chatting with Sarah. With a swimmers body she was obviously in great shape but I didn’t know if she came in before or after me. We talked about the great flat calm conditions ... "Best Ever" and I mentioned that the last km was my finest and how happy I was to be able to pour it on. I was surprised when she said she hit the wall at 3km and it was all she could do to finish. “I typically swim no more than 3km in the pool back home,” she said. I was even more amazed however when later as they were announcing the winners that Sarah Hornby not only won the race but that she did it in an outstanding time of 1:1:50 OMG! I wish I could hit the wall at 3km and still finish that strong. If that wasn’t enough Sarah could claim this victory on her 40th Birthday – how cool is that!    Almost as impressive was that not only did another lady place 2nd overall but she was also a Sarah – Sarah Bakker with an outstanding 1:5:34. I placed 9th overall, 2nd in my age class.

Sarah Hornby

Winner Sarah Hornby with her two girls

Sarah with her prize, a handmade, beautiful Muskoka Chair

Sarah with her prize, a handmade, beautiful Muskoka Chair

Sarah is the consumate athlete and operates her own physio therapy clinic in Coldwater: https://www.activenorthphysiotherapy.com/ 

While more swimmers came in, I was also privileged to get reacquainted with newly elected MPP for Simcoe North, Jill Dunlop. Jill ran this event last year and I got to know her early in the organization phase.  She did an outstanding job for the Child Advocacy Centre then – just like I’m sure she is and will be doing for the constituents in her riding.

Jill Dunlop

Above MPP Jill Dunlop, who organized the event last year and Wil had a chance to catch up after the swim.

Below Louise Jones 2018 organizer of the Sun City Swim and 2017 organizer Jill Dunlop had a chance to catch up too!

alt

Although the new Personal Best was for sure the highlight of the race for me, I must admit getting the award again for the highest fundraiser was a close 2nd.  This time that prize came with two adult Flex Passes to Orillia’s famed Mariposa Folk Festival for 2019.

Swim With The Fishes Funds Raised to Date:
2013 = $2,025; 2014 = $995; 2015 = $1,910; 2016 = $1,300; 2017 = $1,700
2018 = $2,866
6 YEAR TOTAL = $10,796

As usual, the amazing organizers secured several sponsors who graciously supplied us with treats like Pizza, gator aid and cake with plenty of refreshments after the swim. After Paul and I loaded the kayak onto the truck, I figured I may as well get out of my monkey suit and change. So I grabbed my shorts that were stored in the kayak … but guess what was missing? Yep my underwear.  That poor sucker who dropped them back at the Fern Resort was of course yours truly – but I bet you all knew that already huh? 

alt

Paul and Wil after the swim

Back at home I just chilled out, developed my usual lake swimming allergies (stuffed nose, watery eyes etc) ate lots, and watched the Jays game.

And the Winner Is ... The next day I made the draw for the fundraiser prizes and thought it would be fun to make a little Facebook Video out of it.  That video goes through the key points of the Fundraiser, thanks all my supporters and finishes with a draw showing that none other than Ann Marie won the $50 Bass Pro Shops Gift card, the $50 worth of Rapala Tackle and $50 worth of HT Tackle! She saw the video with her family and was just thrilled to win “I never win anything Wil,” so that was so nice. I dropped off the stuff a couple of weeks later and we reminisced and got all caught up – and I rediscovered what a truly amazing person Ann Marie is.  As neighbors, I knew her and her whole extended family growing up and use to hunt and fish with her dad.   She has a couple of sons and one loves to fish close to where he plays Junior hockey up in the French River Area so he will likely put those prizes to good use.  To see the little video with me chatting about the swim just click here 

And that’s a Rap for 2018
With another swim completed for this year, I really have to thank all those who supported my fundraising efforts for the Simcoe Muskoka Child Advocacy Centre and their work for abused kids… I can’t thank you all enough. I see no reason why I wouldn’t swim the event again next August and look forward to another year fun training in the pool. Until then … there are still lots of laps to swim and lots of fish to catch … so have a great fall, winter and spring everyone – and thanks for reading all the way through this lengthy blog … y’all deserve a big pat on the back just for that!