Spirit Orcas

Everyone is capable of achieving something great

I have a passion for open-water swimming as it offers a way of immersing oneself in the environment and connecting with the world in a natural way. For the past few years I have been sharing my passion with developmentally disabled adults who are now taking on challenges you and they could have never imagined.

Spirit Orcas Ben, Dixon, Drew, Cheyenne, Aly and Maria

The Spirt Orcas are an example of what is possible. For much of their lives these incredible athletes have been told no or that’s not possible. As their coach I have turned “NO” onto its head and shifted it to “your ON!” I did this by asking one simple question – “How can I help?”

History of the Spirit Orcas

The first year I coached developmentally disabled athletes I discovered that many of them had no sense of just how far they could swim. The second year I challenged them to a 1 hour continuous swim. Almost all of the athletes swam over 1 kilometre and many over 3 kilometres. They collectively swam from the Crystal pool in Victoria to BC Ferries in Sydney.

I am now working with a small group of the swimmers who are interested in swimming beyond the pool and have ventured into the open water.

This incredible group of 6 athletes have formed a team – the Spirit Orcas – and are now in an open water training program that will bring them to and across the English Channel. In the summer of 2018 they swam the length of Cowichan Lake; it is the same distances at the channel.

Last year the Spirit Orcas swam the length of Gunboat Pass in the heart of Heiltsuk territory in the Great Bear Rainforest. This swim was their third ocean swim. They liked it so much they have asked to return and hope to swim through Hunter Channel in 2021.

In 2020, the Spirit Orcas completed an 80 km staged swim for COVID-19 Relief around the peninsula on Vancouver Island. Dubbed The Great Big Swim, it was the first known swim of it’s kind.