Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Although Wil Wegman, of Bradford, might be more well known for catching fish than swimming with them, it’s exactly the latter that he will be doing on Sat. Aug. 10 in the fish-filled waters of Lake Couchiching.

“I’ll be swimming in my first long-distance lake-swim event and I’m really excited about it,” Wegman said.

The annual charity event is called the Sun City Swim and is a fundraiser by the Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital. All proceeds from the Sun City Swim 2013 will benefit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, supporting the tiniest and most vulnerable patients.

“I have always loved fishing Couchiching and have competed in many bass tournaments there over the years," Wegman says. "In recent tournaments, I saw swimmers crossing the lake during this event – and thought how I would love to try that some day. The only challenge was not really being much of a long distance swimmer!”

That all changed around April of 2012 when Wegman’s home town of Bradford opened up a beautiful new indoor pool, and he began swimming laps. Soon he was swimming three, four and sometimes even five mornings a week.

“Unlike so many other forms of exercise that just seem like so much work and not a lot of fun, swimming has always been enjoyable and relatively easy for me, so adopting a new routine hasn’t been that big of a deal,” he said.

Swimming the four kilometres on Aug. 10 from Fern Resort to Couchiching Beach Park with 60 or 70 other swimmers, however, might very well be a big deal.

“Lake swimming is so much different than swimming in a pool, and Couchiching is notorious for rough waters with big waves – so I’m praying for a calm day!”

He adds, with a smile: “I don’t know for sure that I’ll be able to swim the four kilometres, but I’m sure going to give it all that I have. I just hope that I won’t be too distracted by all the nice bass I may see swimming below me along the way ... but I’ll try to stay focussed on swimming and reaching the other side of Cooch."

The 2013 Sun City Swim will attract swimmers of all skill levels including one very accomplished long distance swimmer — Annaleise Carr, who last year at age 14 became the youngest person ever to cross Lake Ontario, will be joining all the other swimmers for the Sun City Swim.

Since 2010, the Sun City Swim has raised more than $30,000 that has gone toward equipment and programs for Orillia’s hospital.

To support Wil Wegman’s attempt to swim across Lake Couchiching, please log onto the link below and follow the instructions.

 http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=24800

Story courtesy of Wil Wegman, www.wilwegman.com

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