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SwimBowen sees new success in 2023

A record setting $47,000 was raised to help Bowen families fighting cancer

SwimBowen raised a record breaking $47,000 at SwimBowen’s 5th Annual Cancer Care Fundraiser last Saturday. Our signature tagline is “Oceans of Gratitude!” as every year we are beyond humbled by the level of enthusiasm and support this event receives. It’s like looking up at the starry night and trying to measure all the stars. Immeasurable and joyful. That’s the essence of SwimBowen.

One of my favourite things about the event is how it attracts a brilliantly eclectic crowd of swimmers coming from near and far, with super-fast, swimmer-ringers that keep coming back year-after-year. Watching these athletes slice through the water is something to behold.

Here are the top finishers in the 1500 metre: 3rd overall (2nd male) Drew Powell 21:55, 2nd overall (1st Male) Peter Zandsra 21:43, and miles ahead of everyone was first place winner Heidi Cole 21:03. Top finishers for the 750 metre event: 3rd overall (2nd female) Lindsey Jenner 14:26, 2nd overall (1st female) Joanne Stone 13:39, and Adam Vajda 1st overall (1st Male) 12:52.

And to our cruising swimmers young and old, the breaststrokers and the free style keeners – we adore that SwimBowen inspires you to get in the ocean and reach, roll, breathe, repeat. Fun, healthy, and dare I say beats a public pool any day!

It takes a small army to launch this swim party– so thank you to the more than 40 volunteers that helped make this year the best yet. A special shout out to SwimBowen director Deb Thomson for wearing extra hats and circling back to me and the team with the myriad of details required for a smooth event. And to Deb T and Debbie Collingwood for finessing the finish line timing and brainstorming with me to sort through how to recognize the top swimmer categories so we are inclusive.

To Julie Saxton who jumped in to help with volunteer administration – thank you. To Julie Cree who did a stellar job at the refreshments table - you made the swimmers very happy. Sadly, I didn’t get a donut. We are deeply grateful to our photographers without whom we are nothing: Scott Robarts, Anne Fror, Daniel Brewer and Alys Williams.

Top fundraisers were Team Michael Henrichsen and David Bellringer raising a whopping $8,607. Over the last several months (and inspired by Michael’s circumnavigation last year), the two of them swam around Bowen Island in sections. An epic undertaking with one leg in particular taking almost 4 hours to complete. They completed their circumnavigation on event day morning planning their “champagne lap” into Tunstall Bay in time to pick up a swim cap and get a race number on their hand to swim the 1500 m event. Rumour has it they will do it again next year with a third swimmer and be the “Three Dudes Swimming Around Bowen”.

Tanya Voormeij-de Zwart was second runner up with $7,715 raised. She of course came first in everyone’s hearts as she has bravely soldiered on through chemotherapy, completing her swim training all while raising a staggering sum for the Cancer Care Fund. And in classic SwimBowen fashion, Michael and David passed on their grand prize Whistler Get Away Package to Tanya.

These are the SwimBowen moments that bubble up and lift us all. We can all be our own good news story. These are the actions and efforts that eclipse the bad news stories for a moment so we can reach, pull, roll and breathe through another day. Thanks Bowen and beyond, see you next year!