An endurance athlete from Kelowna is testing his limits by swimming the length of Okanagan Lake — all 106 kilometres of it.
Nick Pelletier is not only vying for the official Guinness World Record title, but he’s looking to raise funds for BrainTrust Canada.
Pelletier moved to Kelowna from Calgary in 2016 to pursue collegiate-level baseball, but a history of concussions forced him to retire after only one year of college baseball.
His charity of choice is a Kelowna-based non-profit dedicated to meeting the needs of people affected by brain injury.
“At the end of the attempt, a record may have fallen or a record may still stand,” Pelletier wrote on his website. “No finish is ever guaranteed.”
Currently, only one other person has completed the swim and holds the world record with a time just under 41 hours.
Adam Ellenstein completed the swim in 2016. Now, Pelletier is looking to beat that by completing it in under 4:57:11 starting Friday, Sept. 4.
Smashing the world record is important for Pelletier, he said.
“As I have gotten older, my focus has shifted from external competition to internal competition and seeing how far I can push myself personally,” he wrote. “I am blessed to have been gifted a healthy body and athletic abilities and I plan to use them to create good in whatever ways I can.
“The lake has been something that I have looked at or been in since I moved to Kelowna four years ago, and the tantalizing thought of conquering it using nothing but my physical and mental abilities, with no direct assistance, is very attractive to me,” he wrote.
Along his swim, Pelletier will have a support team of two motorized boats, sponsored by Aqua Marine Valet, and two kayaks that will shuttle food and drink between the motorboats and himself.
Pelletier will not hold onto or use any of these watercraft for support along his swim. Witnesses onboard are watching to ensure this rule is followed.
“I will be untouched for the entirety of the swim, I want to stress this,” Pelletier wrote. “I will have a support crew, but will not be touched or helped by anyone directly. I will be the one in the water and will not leave it until I have swum the length of the lake.”
The swim will be monitored by GPS and filmed around the clock for evidence that Pelletier never left the water.
Pelletier is no stranger to extreme sports and long distances.
Last year, Pelletier cycled 5,755 kilometres over 50 days from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Calif., to his family’s home in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
In the course of the cross-country ride, Pelletier raised more than US$11,500 for Pencils of Promises — an organization the builds schools internationally and provides quality, sustainable education for children in need.
Pelletier’s contribution provided 154 students in Laos, Ghana, Guatemala and Nicaragua the opportunity to go to school.
Pelletier has set a $5,000 goal for his swim across Okanagan Lake to assist with the Youth Concussion Clinic at BrainTrust Canada. By Sept. 4, more than $3,900 was already donated.