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Canadian Freshwater Alliance
Out of the Pool and into the Lake

Learning the Basics of Open Water Swimming

Port Stanley, ON - On Saturday, August 3, a group of novice open water swimmers gathered on the shores of Lake Erie at Port Stanley's Beach for "Lake Erie: Try An Open Water Swim." This was the final event in a set of five Explore the Thames activities that the Canadian Freshwater Alliance put on over the summer. New inductees to the sport, these swimmers had the chance to get their feet wet, so to speak, and learn from a pro.

The event was co-hosted with the South West Ontario Open Water Swim group (SWOOWS) and facilitated by open water swimmer, coach, and race coordinator Josh Reid. Reid gave participants a crash course on the important techniques required in open water swimming and an overview of the hazards swimmers can encounter (such as rocks, undercurrents, and riptides). Reid also discussed environmental issues like algae blooms (which has been forecasted to be particularly severe for 2019) that negatively affect open water swimmers health and performance. All the events in the Explore the Thames series provided unique experiences and shone a spotlight on the key environmental issues that our precious lakes and rivers face. Making the connection to local waters through these events is an important first step in the conversation about the health of the Thames River and Lake Erie, and the conservation efforts to protect them.

"Literally ANYONE can open water swim; it's a very inexpensive sport," said Reid. "Together, we can help the health of the Great Lakes, by refusing to use single use plastics, asking governments to properly fund ecological programs, and by showing we care by being ethical recreational lake users!"

Explore the Thames is a series of events teaching unique outdoor skills. All events are hosted in partnership with local groups and experts to teach participants the basics of the activity and to raise awareness of environmental water issues. While the 2019 series has come to an end, on August 24th athletes and community members will come together to take the Lake Erie Challenge, a 30km swim and paddleboard crossing from Long Point to Port Dover.

The Explore the Thames event series is made possible thanks to the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The Canadian Freshwater Alliance builds, connects and supports freshwater initiatives across Canada. We work with NGOs, community groups, governments and businesses to strengthen citizen voices and participation in protecting our lakes and rivers. We are a project of Tides Canada shared platform.

Last Updated: Saturday, 03 August 2019 14:33:02 PM EST

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