Loop updates

This space will provide periodic news about the Loop, such as any new hazards, construction, shallowness of the water, debris in the water, weather damage, new policies, etc.  If anyone has new or important observations about the Loop, please contact mark@acrossthelakeswim.com, so your information can be added to this site. 

July 6, 2021: Looking for a deeper water swim?

The newest open water swim course is now waiting for you at Cedar Creek Park!  The parking is free, the water is deeper, and the 1200m loop is slightly bigger than Gyro’s 800m loop.  Check out the website at: cedarcreekswimloop.com.

July 1, 2021: The water is really warm!

It should come as no surprise that the record-setting “heat-dome” that settled over BC last week has warmed up the lake like never before–as high as 28°C–just like the average indoor, heated swimming pool!  You won’t need a wetsuit to swim in the lake these days!

Unfortunately, the very dry spring we had has meant that Okanagan Lake did not come within even one foot of “full pool”, so that the normal summer lake drop has come sooner than expected.  Swimmers on the Gyro Loop have noticed that their arm strokes are already touching the sand as they swim across the loop, a situation that is not usually noticed until August, when the swim season is winding down.

If you prefer swimming deeper water, you could swim along the outer buoys, then along the Manteo Mile, and then along the buoys in front of the Eldorado marina; however, since it is the height of boating season, you should only consider swimming such a course very early in the morning, as you will otherwise encounter boat traffic.  Swim this at your own risk!


May 29, 2021: The 2021 Open Water Swimming season is upon us!

Is this the summer you add open water swimming to your regular training regimen?  If you haven’t already noticed, open water swimming is the perfect sport for a pandemic–no need for other people, and the lake is always open–and free!
Depending on where you are, you may have already been putting in some distance in open water, but here in the Okanagan, where the lake has been filling up with snow melt, it is still a brisk 15°C, although the coming week of expected sunshine will improve that pretty quickly. So, if you haven’t already done so, it is time to dust off your wetsuit, fix some of those small tears, and get your feet (and the rest of you) wet!
And there is now one more thing: Although the Gyro Swim Loop has long been the safest and best used open water swim training area in Kelowna, this year the City has agreed to formalize a new open water swim area–an out-and-back deep-water course at Cedar Creek Park (600m in each direction), where there is a series of buoys spaced 75m apart. Since the beach is rocky, wearing water shoes will save your sensitive feet!  Both Gyro and Cedar Creek are quiet spots to swim, especially early in the morning, before the boats are out.  And since the Gyro parking lot is free until 9AM, you can figure out why most of us swim well before that.
See you out there!

September 4, 2020: The Great open water season continues

Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID -19 pandemic, with the cancellation of almost every outdoor swimming, running and triathlon event this summer, informal swimming in the lake with others in your bubble has continued largely unimpeded.  In fact, the Gyro Swim Loop has been busier than ever, with swim clubs, triathlon clubs, and small informal groups swimming regularly here, as an alternative to pool swimming, which has been either unavailable or significantly restricted all summer.  And although the parking lot is well used in the morning, isn’t it great that you don’t have to pay for parking if you get out of the water by 9AM?

So it is now September, and we are heading into an exceptionally warm Labor day weekend (air temperatures of 30°C+ will keep the water warm), so the season will continue for at least a few more weeks, with water temperatures staying above 20°C.  It has been a well kept secret that September swims are some of the best–the lake loses most of its boat traffic, there are less people crowding the beaches, the kids are back in school (or not?) and the water is still summer-warm. Just keep in mind that air temperatures first thing in the morning are dropping off somewhat, so ironically, it is the air temperature, more than the water temperature, that will feel cold.   So, wearing a wetsuit at this time of the year makes sense.  

Enjoy your last flings at the lake!  Once you stop, you will not likely be back for at least 8 months!

June 11, 2020: The Lake is warming up, and filling up!

As of today, the lake level sits at 342.641 metres (above sea level). Yesterday, it was at 342.624 metres and we have had some rain, with more to come.

“Full pool” sits at 342.48 metres, and so we are 16cm (about 3 inches) above that. The record high, which was set on June 9, 2017, was 343.251 metres.

Regarding temperature, we have reached 16°C for the first time this year today, after hovering between 12°C and 14°C for the last several weeks as the cold snow melt reaches the lake from the the various snowsheds.  There is still more to come from Mission Creek, so we are not done rising yet, especially as there is more rain and unsettled weather still coming our way.

The Manteo Mile 150m buoy has been located (on the beach nearby), so once the lake turbidity settles down enough to see the bottom, we will be able to relocate its anchor and re-attach it.  The Manteo Mile swim is great right now–no weeds at all!

May 24, 2020: Open water swimming is starting up!

The last 2-3 weeks has seen Lake Okanagan filling up fast with waters from a significant snowpack this year, compounded with some seasonal rain.  And although the water temperatures are still cool–hovering between 12°C-14°C, depending on the weather and the time of day–lots of pent up swimmers are already giving the Loop a go.  Are YOU ready to take the plunge?
A couple of tips, especially for those not well insulated, or who feel the cold more than most: 

  • Double cap, preferably with silicone (as opposed to latex swim caps, for some extra head insulation, and if you have access to a neoprene skullcap, use it; 
  • When putting on the outer cap, make some final adjustments on this cap after you have put your goggles on–pull the front edge of the cap over the top lip of the goggles, so that your forehead has complete coverage;
  • Use your best (and thickest) wetsuit–the newer it is, likely the less holes are in it;
  • Consider wearing a snug t-shirt or compression shirt under your wetsuit, as it will reduce water flowing in your wetsuit, so that the water that you warm up in the suit will be more likely to stay in one place;
  • Neoprene booties are great if you can find a pair online;
  • Ease your way into the water, walking into chest deep water, allowing your feet and hands to get used to the temperature, some water to start leaking into your wetsuit (that you will be warming up!), while splashing some water onto exposed areas of your face and neck, so that you do not create a cold shock response when you start swimming;
  • Try a few short 10-20m swims to allow your head, neck and face to get used to the cold, before doing a sustained swim;
  • Roll onto your back and do backstroke if your face is having trouble tolerating the cold;
  • Stay within the confines of the loop, as most of it is less than 6 feet deep, staying closer to shore if you are shorter, so you can stand to give your face a break whenever you need on.
  • When returning to your vehicle after your swim, get out of your wet clothes, towel off, and turn on the heater in your car.  Grab a warm drink nearby.
Have fun!  If you can keep your breathing rhythm under control in colder temperatures, you have mastered a critical component in mastering open water swimming.

May 27, 2020: A buoy is missing!

The Manteo Mile is open and functional, although you may need to be aware of some drift wood in the water in places.  And it is important to note that the 150m buoy is gone!  Anyone seen it?  Please contact mark@acrossthelakeswim.com if you know if its whereabouts.

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