Spirit Orcas to swim the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest

The waters off Gyro Park are cold this time of year, but the chilly temperatures aren't enough to dissuade a group of Special Olympic swimmer.

Six special Olympians, members of the Spirit Orcas, were out this past weekend honing their strokes for a summer swim planned for the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest near Bella Bella.

Their coach, Susan Simmons, herself a record-setting, long-distance swimmer, is challenging the swimmers with ever-longer relay swims leading up to the July relay.

Team member Ben Van Lierop is up for the plunge and says his coach is who keeps him motivated.

"She's very helpful.  She helps me whenever I feel like I am getting stressed out or whenever I feel like I'm not comfortable."

Simmons, who is preparing the Spirit Orcas for a 34-km relay swim wants to provide her group with the natural serenity of Great Bear which she hopes will have a calming effect on them.

"If they have autism there's often anxiety that comes with that and I would like to see them at peace and comfortable in that environment."

Simmons and the Spirit Orcas have another relay swim planned next year across the Georgia Strait, and after that they will take on the English Channel.

To donate: (https://susansimmons.ca/spirit-orcas/)

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