Tackling the open water for a good cause

Brandon Anstey
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Gander swimmers to cross Northumberland Strait for charity

If swimming to the pool’s deep end seems daunting, imagine swimming from one province to another.

SWIM FRIENDS — Gander’s Tanya Keough and Scott Anstey have been friends and swimmers for a while. The pair will be attempting to swim the Northumberland Strait on Aug. 17 to raise money for Brigadoon Village, a camp in Nova Scotia for children with different kinds of illnesses, diseases and disabilities.


That’s exactly what Tanya Keough and Scott Anstey of Gander will be doing when they swim across the Northumberland Strait next month.

The exhausting effort is being made to raise money for Brigadoon Village, a camp in Nova Scotia for children from Atlantic Canada with different illnesses, diseases and disabilities.

The open water swim is a distance of over 14 kilometres. The the pair will start in Cape Tormentine, N.B. and end in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I. It’s about a seven-hour swim that will be made by 50 people. Kayakers will accompany the swimmers, carrying drinking water and snacks for them.

It’s a challenge, said Keough, but it’s a worthwhile task.

“It’s daunting but we can do it because we’ve been training hard,” she said. “The Big Swim is a Give to Live fundraiser. All money that’s raised goes to Brigadoon Village. It gives those children in need an opportunity to experience camp for a week.

“Everything about it (the camp) is amazing. It boosts the confidence of the children, and it also gives the parents a sense of ease because there is experienced medical staff and equipment at the camp.”

For Anstey, it’s also a chance to help provide support for the children who will be going to Brigadoon Village. While he’s excited for the swim, there will be challenges, he said.

“It’s obviously a great cause,” said Anstey. “The challenge is just training hard and making sure I’m in good enough shape to enjoy it. I know I can do it, but I guess it will be a lot less painful if you’re in better shape. Having a fitness goal had a lot to do with it, and I’m getting a bit older so I figured it was time to take it up a notch.”

Anstey and Keough are longtime friends who both participated in the Swim for Hope in Gander.

The 10 km pool-swim was challenging, they said, but neither swimmer has participated in an open water swim like the one they’ll be a part of on Aug. 17. That’s why their training schedule has been packed with open water and indoor swims since late this winter.

“It’s been challenging balancing my schedule with the pool’s schedule,” said Keough, adding now that the water has warmed up in local ponds they’ve been able to swim more.

“We’ve been trying to swim three or four times a week, two or three shorter swims and at least one longer swim.

The pair of Gander swimmers got involved with the event through a mutual friend who works at Brigadoon Village and encouraged them to suit up for charity. It’s a rewarding feeling with the cause in mind, said Keough.

“The most rewarding part is just knowing that we can help the children,” she said. “That is the biggest motivator for me. Having three kids myself, there’s nothing more rewarding to build your self-esteem.”

Anstey will breath a sigh of relief and reward when he lands on the other side.

“The biggest motivation for me during the swim will be finishing,” said Anstey. “We hope the weather is nice, and everyone finishes. It’s not a race or anything but I just want to make sure that I finish it, and enjoy it. That’s part of training.”

Anstey and Keough are the only swimmers from this province who will be participating in the Big Swim, and it’s been a stable support network for the longtime friends who both live in Gander.

“It’s been awesome having each other, especially in the open water because you wouldn’t want to be out there by yourself,” said Keough.

Anstey agreed.

“We wouldn’t be swimming half as much in open water if it wasn’t for having each other to swim with,” he said.

To donate to Keough’s and Anstey’s effort visit www. bigswim2014.kintera.org.


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