Alex Cape had a huge goal: to swim for the longest known distance in a freshwater setting.
Each year, Cape and Simmons kept swimming further and further distances, pushing each other and challenging themselves to greater goals. In 2013, Cape and Simmons swam 34 km across the length of Cowichan Lake in 11 hours 45 minutes. The next year, she completed a 32-hour, 70 km double crossing of Cowichan Lake together with Simmons in an event called Swimmers Last Longer. In 2015, she attempted another unprecedented swim – a planned 105 km triple crossing of Cowichan Lake.
But this year, the dynamic duo split apart unexpectedly. Cape kept going when Simmons, a famed distance swimmer with multiple sclerosis, was unexpectedly overcome with nausea due to the rough conditions. Stopping at the 44 km mark after 21 hours 18 minutes, Simmons was finished, but her swimming buddy – a Canadian medic – swam past the 50 km mark, past the 60 km mark, past the 70 km mark, past the 80 km mark, and past the 90 km mark.
Cape continued to forge on nearing the marks set by Vicki Keith (104 km in Lake Ontario in 1987) and Ted Erikson and Abdul-Latif Abou-Heif (96 km in Lake Michigan in 1963). Ultimately, she voluntarily walked up onshore after 50 hours 36 minutes at 94.2 km (58.4 miles) – the 12th longest marathon swim in human history: (see global historic list here).
For her gradual upping her distance over a 3-year period while being a supportive friend of her swim buddy with multiple sclerosis, and for swimming the third longest lake swim in history, Alex Cape is nominated for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year. She certainly embodied the spirit of open water swimming and possessed the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are well-known for.
Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association