OC alumnus attempts World Record, doubles fundraising goal

By Public Affairs | September 15, 2020

Alumnus Nick Pelletier, Okanagan Lake swim
Alumnus Nick Pelletier, Okanagan Lake swim

While debilitating chafing sunk OC alumnus Nick Pelletier’s hopes of breaking the Guinness World Record for fastest swim of Lake Okanagan from Vernon to Penticton, it didn’t stop him from more than doubling his fundraising goal.

In addition to the swim being a personal challenge, Pelletier was also raising funds to help support BrainTrust Canada’s Youth Concussion Clinic which provides youth aged five to 25 years old who struggle with concussions and cannot afford any services or resources to support their recovery.

“This cause is close to me as I have a concussion history which has plagued me,” says Pelletier. “As I have gotten older my focus has shifted from external competition to internal and seeing how far I can push myself.”

“The motivation behind this swim came from my inability to follow through on previously planned out endeavours because of COVID-19. My friend and I paddled from Vernon to Kelowna on a kayak earlier this winter and I thought challenging the whole lake would be a cool idea so I decided I would start training and commit to attempting the swim later in the summer.”

Pelletier started his swim in Vernon on Sept. 4 at about 5:30 a.m. but unfortunately did not finish after suffering through 14 hours of severe chafing.

Alumnus Nick Pelletier, Okanagan Lake swim 2

“It is absolutely gut wrenching for me to say that I only made it 52 km over 21 hours. I was on pace to beat the record of 41 hours with time to spare, until debilitating chafing left me unable to proceed,” says Pelletier.

“It’s frustrating for me because my body was feeling great structurally and my mental was doing even better, it was just an equipment malfunction that cost me the attempt. I don’t like to justify my failures as successes but I took a lot out of that day. I endured the worst pain of my life as I watched a goal that had encapsulated every inch of real estate in my brain for the better part of four months, just drift away into the dark, cold night.”

While Pelletier’s swim may have been cut short, he doubled his fundraising goal, raising $11,900 for BrainTrust Canada. He says this won’t be his final attempt.

“I’m obligated to hold myself accountable for goals that I claim I will achieve and fall short of,” says Pelletier. “If there’s one thing you can count on it’s that next year you’ll find me back in the water because failure doesn’t sit well with me and comfort breeds complacency.”

Before his endevour, Pelletier recently shared his thoughts on the swim and his time at the College. Read his Q&A here.

Tags: OC Alumni Association, Inside OC



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