Courtesy of WOWSA, Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada.

Spirit Orcas is coached by Susan Simmons who has been making waves throughout her marathon swimming career.

Simmons added coaching and inspiration to her responsibilities. Spirit Orcas include six Special Olympics athletes.

The sextet including Ben Van Lierop, Dixon McGowan, Drew Sabourin, Cheyenne Furlong Goos, Maria Sharock and Aly White will attempt their first relay swim, a 34 km attempt across the Gunboat Channel in the Great Bear Rainforest in July. That is a lead-up to a relay swim across the Georgia Strait in British Columbia in 2020. In 2022, they plan to attempt a relay crossing of the English Channel.

I think it’s going to be wonderful, it’s such a serene place, it’s so different, no distractions. You’re just out in nature and I think it’ll be really a nice place for a lot of them to be,” said Simmons to the CTV News in Vancouver. “If somebody is starting to feel anxious, I look them in the eye, I may hold their hand, just reassure them that it’s OK. The cold won’t feel as cold in a minute and it’s OK, we’re together, we’re having fun. I just really want them to believe in themselves and know that they can do anything that they set their minds to.”

For more information about the Spirit Orcas’ open water swimming challenges, visit here.

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