When Bonnie Siddon made the decision to face her fear of water and learn to swim, she had no idea it would lead to new friendships, a supportive community and a successful swim across Okanagan Lake this past July.

Bonnie learned that one small step forward could have a domino effect on her entire life. Moving out of her comfort zone added excitement to her daily routine and changed her perspective.

“It was such an incredible experience,” Bonnie exclaims. “I am so lucky to have had the opportunity — very emotional, exciting and exhausting all wrapped up in one!”

As many of you may know, Bonnie achieved her goal of learning to swim and just kept on going. She pushed herself one step further to become a strong swimmer for herself, her husband and her kids.

Her swim coach, who is also the aquatics manager at the Kelowna Family YMCA, exuded pride over Bonnie’s progress and achievement.

“It is one of my favourite successes,” says Torrie. “Bonnie deserves all the credit, but I am so proud of her perseverance. I was teary eyed as we made it to the shore and walked up onto the beach.”

Torrie swam by Bonnie’s side for the entire Interior Savings Across the Lake Swim in July to provide encouragement and help her get through the mental hurdles of the open water swim. 

For Bonnie, the moment she finished the swim was unreal.

Coming up onto the shore and feeling the sand on my feet was the best feeling,” Bonnie says. “I can’t believe I made it.”

The support Bonnie received throughout her swim was what got her through.

“I still felt anxiety in the water and had to rely on the support from Torrie and the lifeguards in the boats surrounding me to help me get to the shore,” she says. “Torrie was my eyes and the encouragement from Y lifeguards, Maria and Randall, made a world of difference.”

Bonnie’s family and supporters were waiting for her at the finish line to cheer her on and welcome her as she completed the race. Her three kids, Carter, Ty and Alison were extremely proud of their mom. So much so, that her two boys — eight year old twins — want to do the swim next year.

“We are going to swim across the lake next year,” Ty and Carter exclaim. “We think we can do it!”

And they are already training for their goal, coming to the pool at Kelowna Family Y as often as possible during their summer break, with their mom by their side.  

As Bonnie reflects on her training and the accomplishment of her goal, she has an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

“This whole experience will definitely stick with me,” says Bonnie. “I am grateful for the support I received from my friends, family, Torrie and the entire YMCA community. All I have to say is THANK YOU!”

If you haven't read Bonnie's previous stories, find out how it all began with Bonnie's decision to learn to swim

The YMCA of Okanagan is a charity devoted to the health and wellbeing of children, youth, adults and seniors.  Learn more at ymcaokanagan.ca.