In 1989, six intrepid swimmers decided to swim from Keewatin Beach to Coney Beach. This was a simpler time. There was certainly no training and the participants wore baggy shorts and certainly no swimming goggles. The early route crossed the float plane runway, and two channels so in 1990 when the swimmers re-convened with a few foolish friends, they did so at the Yacht Club for a swim around Kalamalka, Gourley and the Yacht Club Island. Hence the name: three island swim.
The swim course has remained the same since that second swim. At 3 km, the event is a true test of the more confident individual at your camp. For those who enjoy the social aspects of this event, there is the relay category where three swimmers each complete one leg of the 3 km course. All participants are required to have a spotter (strongly preferred in a non-motorized boat) to watch over their health and welfare. It is essential that all spotters carry a certified life vest. We were strongly chastised by the OPP in 2015, so this will be strictly enforced. On wavy days, when it’s one breath of air and one breath of water, it is nice to have a trusty spotter ever-present to guide the way and be available for quick rescue.
The course is always finished by a resounding sound of the Yacht Club bell and swimmers are met with well earned snacks of fresh fruit, muffins and cookies.
NOTE CHANGE OF PARTICIPATION POLICY (Since 2018)
Given that the 3 Island Swim has grown in popularity, in particular amongst non RLWYC members, we feel it is only fair that we require ALL participants to be MEMBERS or GUESTS OF MEMBERS. This is a policy that we feel is important to enforce as it is the general practice of the club in other programmes and events and was introduced in 2018. We appreciate that this may be disappointing for some, but as this is an amateur ‘fun’ swim, not a professionally organized event, it is important that we set guidelines that will ensure that we can all enjoy a safe and enjoyable day.
In addition, we will not be accepting cash on the day, but all entrance fees will be charged to the members account as per the practice in other member events. Our thanks for your understanding.
The Minnows are the younger generation of 3 Island Swimmers and are encouraged to participate in RLWYC lessons in the lead-up to the August Long Weekend in preparation for the 3 Island Swim. Minnows can participate as a relay team (like the 3 island Swim – and all with a spotter) or they can join the RLWYC barge that will accompany younger swimmers (no age restriction) so that they can safely participate. There are a crew of lifeguards and instructors – plus spotters. We hope that younger members will start to join in on the fun of the 3-island swim and will eventually graduate to either relay teams or to compete in the full swim. All Minnows will receive prizes and special cookies – it really is the highlight of the Swimming Program calendar.
The course record is held by Mackenzie Holden-McLeod who set a new record in 2016 at 33:10. For those who swim, or watch the Olympics, this is a remarkable time. Other notables are Stuart Starkey who has won the event 6 times – every time he has entered. Larry Kyle – a 6 time winner and Robert Bulman – a 4 time winner.
Awards are given for the top three male and female swimmers as well as Best Rookie, Most Improved and the coveted Participation Award for spirit and event contribution.