Race Rocks Challenge

Two years ago Corey Teramura, a friend of mine who often crews on my swims, approached me about an idea that has now become a project. He works at Pearson College in Metchosin, British Columbia, and wanted to challenge the students to something that would improve their fitness, increase their commitment to the environment and build character. He wanted the students to swim from Race Rocks, an ecological reserve in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, to the college.

This would be an unprecedented six-kilometre open water swim through a spectacular waterway known for it’s strong winds (sometimes over 40 knots) and impressive currents (around 12 knots). 

Race rocks is home to a plethora of sea species and birds. In late July the rocks are blanketed with harbor seal babies . The elephants seals and huge sea lions(a Steeler) can be overwhelming at times. You can learn more about this very special marine environment on the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve website.

The Race Rocks Challenge – in brief

For all of us involved in this project, swimming and organized sports have been a major part of our lifestyles. The team spirit, scheduled training, physical challenge and sense of working towards a common goal all are contributing to an incredible experience and a deep appreciation for the incredible nature and facilities that are steps away from our dormitories.

Race Rocks Ecological Reserve is an important habitat in the Salish Sea. Its proximity to Pearson College UWC and the rich waterway between it and Race Rocks, naturally leaves one wondering if anyone has ever swum from one to the other? The distance is manageable and the currents predictable and, despite the cool water temperature, others have successfully swum much further distances in this region — from Port Angeles to Victoria, for example. We think this project would be a great way to motivate ourselves to train and to rally Pearson’s many student swimmers.

The Students’ Goal

In addition to our individual reasons for taking on what we’ve coined, The Race Rocks Challenge, we hope to use this ambitious and exciting experience to help the College.

Through The Race Rocks Challenge, we hope to instill confidence and pride in all Pearson students.

For many, a goal of this nature seems impossible. However, participating students that work towards it come to realize that what seems impossible is actually achievable with hard work, a supportive community and a well-executed plan. When confronted with challenging experiences later in life, they can look back at The Race Rocks Challenge and their experience at Pearson College UWC with drive, determination and a positive attitude to move onwards and upwards. We also believe this experience will act as an inspiration for all Pearson students who, through The Race Rocks Challenge, will see that goal-setting and hard work can make what may seem impossible possible.

Pearson College’s Goal

Through The Race Rocks Challenge, we hope to use this ambitious and exciting experience to help fundraise for new, modern indoor training pool equipment, to engage and reach out to Pearson alumni and to raise awareness about the College in our region and across Canada. We also hope to raise funds for, and awareness of, student scholarships that enable Pearson College UWC to welcome a deliberately diverse student body based on individual merit, promise and potential.

In doing so, Pearson College UWC must undertake these goals in a financially viable and sustainable way.

In an uncertain world, the mission of Pearson College UWC remains more relevant than ever. Now is the time to write the next chapter in this story. Now is the time to move forward with the next phase of Pearson’s bold experiment.

Learn about Race Rocks 1 here and the swimmers here.

We are grateful to Aqua Lung Canada for their exceptionally kind donation of six Aqua Sphere wetsuits Aqua Sphere for this swim and to our friends at HTO Surf Shop for helping make it happen!

Donations can be made here.Read the CBC article or listen to the student interview here.M