YMCA of Okanagan Swims Program

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When looking out at the view of Okanagan lake, most people wouldn’t think about swimming across it, but once 9 year-old Amelia-Ahn Lou’s decided this was her personal goal, there has been no stopping her. 

Amelia-Ahn’s passion for the water started when she completed the YMCA’s Okanagan Swims program, which is free for every grade 3 and 4 student from School District #23 and provides vital swim skills necessary for children to stay safe in and around the water.

Since then, Amelia-Ahn has joined the AquaJets Swim Club, has progressed through the YMCA swim levels and has been busy training in preparation for the Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim on July 14. 

“I have been to four clinics hosted by the Across the Lake Swim Society,” Amelia-Ahn exclaimed. “I also go to H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre to practice my 80 lengths.”

Emalie Schueler, head lifeguard and swimming instructor at H2O Adventure + Fitness Centre, will be swimming alongside Amelia-Ahn during the lake crossing to coach her along and ensure her safety at all times. 

“I have been working with Amelia-Ahn for about a month,” Schueler said. “In our training sessions, Amelia-Ahn practices swimming in the waves to mimic the current of the lake. We also focus on distance swimming and what strokes are best to switch to if she gets tired or cold.” 

“While feeling excited and nervous about the prospect of swimming across the lake, Amelia-Ahn said, “I can’t wait to look out at the lake and be able to say, ‘I swam that, and I can do anything’.”

The Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim is a long-time community event marking 2018 as the 70th Anniversary. The Across the Lake Swim Society generously donates event proceeds to make the YMCA Okanagan Swims Program possible. To date, 10,500 children have been provided with the basic lifesaving instruction to be safe around our pools, lakes and rivers. 

Learn more about the YMCA’s Okanagan Swims Program at ymcaokanagan.ca/OkanaganSwims and visit acrossthelakeswim.com for details on this weekend’s event.