Sunday, July 16th, marks the 3rd Annual North Shore Challenge. A Global Swim Series member since day one of the GSS, the North Shore Challenge is a fundraiser for Trillium Childhood Cancer Support Centre.
This event takes place in beautiful Norfolk County, just 45 minutes south of Hamilton, ON, and features 1km, 3.8km, and 10km distances in Lake Erie. While swimming in any Great Lake presents its challenges, the protected Long Point Bay usually provides 20-25 degree Celsius air and water temperatures, mild currents, and relatively calm waters. Activities for spectators and families on the beach and at the Turkey Point Pavilion include games and activities hosted by NLS lifeguards, a “fishy” arts tent hosted by the Norfolk Arts Centre, and a charity BBQ with live music.
Aside from its beautiful locale, the North Shore Challenge is one of the fastest growing open water swims in Ontario. Beginning in 2015 with 73 swimmers and less than favourable conditions, last year’s perfect weather and the introduction of a 10km marathon distance has led to quite a buzz around this event. Registration has more than doubled from last year, with nearly 200 swimmers registering, including over 40 10km marathon swimmers. 10km swimmers have their safety meeting on Saturday evening, from 5-8pm, featuring a bonus “Sunset 1km Swim” with their kayakers.
Almost as noteworthy as the swims are the amazing prizes from sponsors such as FINIS, Stoked Oats, New Wave Swim Buoys, and Team Aquatic Supplies, as well as many local businesses. In addition, race directors Josh Reid and Annaleise Carr take time to acknowledge first-time open water swimmers with the Theo VanderLee Memorial Award. They have also added a Team Challenge this year, which has encouraged swim teams, masters clubs, and open water pods to register and work together, to win the Team Challenge Cup. This is sure to be a coveted trophy for years to come!
The event is also usually jam packed with big names and great stories. In their first year, they had Great Lake Swimming Legend Vicki Keith as their special guest starter. This year, they have landed Canadian Open Water Olympian, Zsofi Balazs, who competed in the 2012 Olympics in London. It also marks the return of Lake Ontario crosser and para-swimmer, Carlos Costa, who is using the 10km swim as his qualifier for August’s Embrace the Challenge: Erie Crossing (our newest Ontario GSS event). In addition, they have attracted swimmers from across Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, and even as far away as South Africa!
You can register today to take on the Challenge, at http://northshorechallenge.ca