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Swim Wild Squamish Club takes to open water

New club to host virtual kick-off party on Tuesday night.
Swim club
A group of swimmers has been getting together through the winter, but now they are making it official and have formed a club.

The casual gathering of outdoor cold water swimmers is becoming an organized, year-round swim club. 

Swim Wild Squamish Club is for newbie outdoor swimmers and experienced lappers. 

Club organizer Marlaina Rhymer said the group was borne out of her own desire for a club to join. 

"When I first started swimming in open water, I was like, 'OK, what is the group that I join? Where is the community? Who do I swim with.’" 

The answer was there wasn't a formal club, thus, she started one. 

"There are a lot of swimmers, I see them out," she said. "There is a community that exists already. Somebody just needs to bring it together and that is kind of what I am hoping to do," she said. 

Some other swimmers joined in to form the club. They built a website, registered as a not-for-profit society and took out insurance. 

The first swim of the year will be held on Saturday, May 22. 

It’s only been a few weeks, but so far they have 15 members. They range from triathletes wanting to train through the club to people who don't usually swim in open water, she said. 

The group will meet for two swims per week through the summer. 

There's a lake swim on Tuesday nights at Alice Lake and an ocean swim at Oceanfront Squamish [Nexen Beach].

Both swims are 60 to 90 minutes long. 

Members can come out and just go for a dip or get a couple thousand metres in. 

"We will have different courses for different abilities and different speeds," Rhymer said.  

All public health orders related to COVID-19 are followed. 

There is a small fee to join to cover the cost of insurance, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds, Rhymer said. 

"It is kind of a pay what you can," she said, adding the suggested membership is $30 to $50. 

Rhymer wants to model the swim club after other mountain clubs she’s been a member of.

"I just loved the whole model... You can do all sorts of outings and there are courses and social events and stewardship events and all this kind of stuff. It is the community hub," she said. "Eventually, I would like it to be the swim club in the Sea to Sky."

The club is holding a virtual kick-off on Tuesday night (May 4) at 7 p.m., with a lineup of outdoor swim expert speakers. Folks can tune in from anywhere and don’t have to be a member or join to take part. 

Find out more about the club on their website or social media pages.