Top News

Local Big Swim participants reflect on Brigadoon Village fundraiser


CAPE JOURIMAIN - Despite a last-minute course change due to weather conditions in the Northumberland Strait, participants of the Big Swim managed to fundraise well over their goal of $150,000 for Camp Brigadoon.

Kevin Walsh and Matthias Jaepel, both of Windsor, were looking forward to swimming to from New Brunswick to PEI, but they said they were happy with their accomplishment: swimming approximately 12 kilometres from Cape Jourimain to Murray Beach.

Kevin Walsh, who said he had never swam that far before, said it was an amazing experience despite the change.

“We arrived before 5 a.m. to the amazing view of a small army of kayakers, swimmers, volunteers, friends and family busily getting ready in the dark,” Walsh said. “The numerous headlamps and people swarming around made it appear like we were getting ready for an invasion of sorts.”

It wasn’t until approximately 7 a.m. when the swimmers headed out, due to multiple delays because of weather conditions.

“Eventually, the announcement came that we would still be getting into the ocean, just not to PEI,” he said. “My initial thought was disappointment of course, but then I remembered this was more about fundraising for the great cause of Brigadoon Village. The personal goal of swimming to PEI was secondary and I still got the opportunity to do my longest swim ever.”

Walsh said the swim to PEI just wasn’t safe, after swells of up to two metres could be seen.

 

Training paid off

Walsh said he was impressed with his performance during the swim.

“The training paid off and swimming 12 kilometres went by faster than I thought,” he said. “It took me two hours and 50 minutes to do the swim and, at the end, I felt like I could have kept going. We did have the current at our backs for most of it so I’m sure crossing to PEI would have been more challenging and further.”

He says he was happy with the compromise.

“It was far better than going home totally empty handed,” he said.

Walsh was assisted by his kayaker, Judy Lynch, who kept track of his progress and provided the comfort of “knowing someone always had your back,” he said. 

“Most participants felt the same way, we still accomplished a major undertaking and it was impressive how the organizers rallied to still allow us get in a major swim,” he said. “It looked smooth from our perspective.” 

Walsh said he’d like to return another year to finish what he started and trained for. 

“I was very happy with how fundraising went, asking for money is never my favourite thing to do,” he said. “The Big Swim seemed to resonate with people because of the great cause, Brigadoon Village, and the somewhat crazy goal of swimming to PEI.”

Walsh ended up raising $3,748 (including matching funds) and as a group, so far over $152,000 has been raised.

It is not too late to donate - the website will be accepting donations for several more weeks at http://bigswim2016.kintera.org.

“Personally, it was great to have the physical challenge,” he said. “I used it to help improve my fitness to get ready to attempt to climb Aconcagua this December.”

Aconcagua is one of the seven summits and the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas.

“Having previously only having swam three or four kilometres at a time, it was daunting to try for 15,” he said. “By following a plan and having great folks to train with each incremental increase in distance was more manageable until swimming more than 10 kilometres at a time didn't seem too bad after all.”

 

Challenging weather

Dr. Matthias Jaepel did a long-distance swim to Tancook Island the week before the Big Swim as a warm up for the fundraising event.

“In New Brunswick, we had rain, wind, 40 to 50 kilometre wind speed, so there was large waves coming into the beech, and larger swells further out,” Jaepel said. “Safety is the main issue, the main concern. We had a delay a few times.”

Jaepel said several participants were worried the swim would be cancelled outright, but were relieved when they heard they could still swim along the coastline.

Jaepel raised over $2,000 so far for the Big Swim.

“I wasn’t exhausted when I was finished the swim,” he said. “It was good for me to do the swim and practise with my partner in the kayak.”

Jaepel said at one point during the swim, he found himself in the middle of a lobster trap field, and needed to navigate through it.

This was Jaepel’s first time participating in the Big Swim event, and he plans to come back to try again.

“The energy is nice, it’s a good cause, and I like it because the people who were donating to the cause were almost more excited than I was,” he said. “For a lot of people, it’s hard to comprehend doing that, swimming across the open ocean.”

Jaepel said he considers swimming a lifetime sport for him.

“I play tennis, do biking and all of that, but for me swimming is number one. All fitness goals, balance, strength, it’s all in swimming,” he said.

A total of 62 people from across Canada participated in the Big Swim.

“What I like about the BIG SWIM is the idea to get people physically active, with this particular event, there were people who couldn’t swim a year ago,” he said. “They got into the water, did some training, got a coach and started doing this. This inspired them and got them physically active. That’s great. It takes a lot of courage to do this as a new swimmer.”

 

About Camp Brigadoon

All funds raised during the Big Swim go to help pay for children to attend Camp Brigadoon.

Brigadoon Village is a non-profit recreational facility on Aylesford Lake in the Annapolis Valley. With its partners, they deliver camp programming to Atlantic Canadian children, youth and families living with a chronic illness, chronic condition, or special need.  

Brigadoon Village has been in operation since 2011, and has offered full summer programming since 2013. In 2015, Brigadoon Village hosted almost 500 children in 11 different camp programs. Twelve programs will be offered in 2016.

Kevin Walsh and Matthias Jaepel, both of Windsor, were looking forward to swimming to from New Brunswick to PEI, but they said they were happy with their accomplishment: swimming approximately 12 kilometres from Cape Jourimain to Murray Beach.

Kevin Walsh, who said he had never swam that far before, said it was an amazing experience despite the change.

“We arrived before 5 a.m. to the amazing view of a small army of kayakers, swimmers, volunteers, friends and family busily getting ready in the dark,” Walsh said. “The numerous headlamps and people swarming around made it appear like we were getting ready for an invasion of sorts.”

It wasn’t until approximately 7 a.m. when the swimmers headed out, due to multiple delays because of weather conditions.

“Eventually, the announcement came that we would still be getting into the ocean, just not to PEI,” he said. “My initial thought was disappointment of course, but then I remembered this was more about fundraising for the great cause of Brigadoon Village. The personal goal of swimming to PEI was secondary and I still got the opportunity to do my longest swim ever.”

Walsh said the swim to PEI just wasn’t safe, after swells of up to two metres could be seen.

 

Training paid off

Walsh said he was impressed with his performance during the swim.

“The training paid off and swimming 12 kilometres went by faster than I thought,” he said. “It took me two hours and 50 minutes to do the swim and, at the end, I felt like I could have kept going. We did have the current at our backs for most of it so I’m sure crossing to PEI would have been more challenging and further.”

He says he was happy with the compromise.

“It was far better than going home totally empty handed,” he said.

Walsh was assisted by his kayaker, Judy Lynch, who kept track of his progress and provided the comfort of “knowing someone always had your back,” he said. 

“Most participants felt the same way, we still accomplished a major undertaking and it was impressive how the organizers rallied to still allow us get in a major swim,” he said. “It looked smooth from our perspective.” 

Walsh said he’d like to return another year to finish what he started and trained for. 

“I was very happy with how fundraising went, asking for money is never my favourite thing to do,” he said. “The Big Swim seemed to resonate with people because of the great cause, Brigadoon Village, and the somewhat crazy goal of swimming to PEI.”

Walsh ended up raising $3,748 (including matching funds) and as a group, so far over $152,000 has been raised.

It is not too late to donate - the website will be accepting donations for several more weeks at http://bigswim2016.kintera.org.

“Personally, it was great to have the physical challenge,” he said. “I used it to help improve my fitness to get ready to attempt to climb Aconcagua this December.”

Aconcagua is one of the seven summits and the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas.

“Having previously only having swam three or four kilometres at a time, it was daunting to try for 15,” he said. “By following a plan and having great folks to train with each incremental increase in distance was more manageable until swimming more than 10 kilometres at a time didn't seem too bad after all.”

 

Challenging weather

Dr. Matthias Jaepel did a long-distance swim to Tancook Island the week before the Big Swim as a warm up for the fundraising event.

“In New Brunswick, we had rain, wind, 40 to 50 kilometre wind speed, so there was large waves coming into the beech, and larger swells further out,” Jaepel said. “Safety is the main issue, the main concern. We had a delay a few times.”

Jaepel said several participants were worried the swim would be cancelled outright, but were relieved when they heard they could still swim along the coastline.

Jaepel raised over $2,000 so far for the Big Swim.

“I wasn’t exhausted when I was finished the swim,” he said. “It was good for me to do the swim and practise with my partner in the kayak.”

Jaepel said at one point during the swim, he found himself in the middle of a lobster trap field, and needed to navigate through it.

This was Jaepel’s first time participating in the Big Swim event, and he plans to come back to try again.

“The energy is nice, it’s a good cause, and I like it because the people who were donating to the cause were almost more excited than I was,” he said. “For a lot of people, it’s hard to comprehend doing that, swimming across the open ocean.”

Jaepel said he considers swimming a lifetime sport for him.

“I play tennis, do biking and all of that, but for me swimming is number one. All fitness goals, balance, strength, it’s all in swimming,” he said.

A total of 62 people from across Canada participated in the Big Swim.

“What I like about the BIG SWIM is the idea to get people physically active, with this particular event, there were people who couldn’t swim a year ago,” he said. “They got into the water, did some training, got a coach and started doing this. This inspired them and got them physically active. That’s great. It takes a lot of courage to do this as a new swimmer.”

 

About Camp Brigadoon

All funds raised during the Big Swim go to help pay for children to attend Camp Brigadoon.

Brigadoon Village is a non-profit recreational facility on Aylesford Lake in the Annapolis Valley. With its partners, they deliver camp programming to Atlantic Canadian children, youth and families living with a chronic illness, chronic condition, or special need.  

Brigadoon Village has been in operation since 2011, and has offered full summer programming since 2013. In 2015, Brigadoon Village hosted almost 500 children in 11 different camp programs. Twelve programs will be offered in 2016.

Recent Stories