Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Skeena Swim Blog

Thursday, July 16: A Big THANK YOU from Ali

We are four short days away from getting wet. To say I have butterflies would be putting it mildly; I think there is a crow flapping around in my gut. I am honored to be trusted with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and feel so privileged to be part of this project. It has taken an enormous co-operative effort to bring the swim to fruition and I would be remiss in neglecting to thank everyone who shared their talents, offered assistance, volunteered time, loaned gear, and donated funds. From a lodge in the Kootenays sending us a case of Cliff bars to strangers stopping me on the street to voice their encouragement, the response to the swim has already been amazing. THANK YOU; I am awed.

What follows is a list of people who have specifically helped me. They greatly contributed to the project, whether they realize it or not (and if I’ve overlooked anyone I apologize: I have water on my brain).


Dorothy Giesbrecht for spending time teaching me somatics, Jocelyn Mio for helping me brush up on my French, and Lisa Perry for covering my ass(ets).

All of you who came out to help me train, especially Erin Hall, Travis Chalmers, and Jane Hollenberg. I was so grateful for the company.

Dwayne Felewich, for providing a 6 mm wet suit so I could train in Merton Lake just after it thawed; and Laurie Burleigh, for fending off beavers & paddling alongside me once I finally worked up the nerve to get in.

Wayne Gregory, for letting me attend Sunday night indoor soccer, arguably the most fun I had cross-training and certainly the most entertaining. Irene Howard for running grueling early-bird workouts. My shoulders thank you for all of the push-ups.

The Bulkley Valley Otters “Silver” group, for never letting me lose sight of how much fun swimming is. And to Coach Brad Thurlow: thanks for finally arriving & resurrecting Masters’. It was worth the wait.

Lila Fraser, Adam Raymakers, and Scott Tiltman for their on-line support. Everyone who took the time to learn about the project and write me a note; the well of encouragement I can draw from is very deep indeed.

Jane Stevenson, for pledging her support way back this winter. Jane and her father, Stewart Young, will host the team in Doreen.

Caroline Marko, of Salt Boutique. In addition to being wonderfully supportive, Caroline hopes to lend me some semblance of style after four weeks spent in a dry suit by generously providing something a little more refined for the big celebration in Rupert.

Breeann Semeschuk & Trevor Doerksen, for coping with the tornadoes that repeatedly tore through their home. You won’t miss the chaos, but maybe the company?

Josette Weir, Ingrid Granlin & Jeremy Roscoe, and Hélène Fleury & Dean Allen for providing “accomodations” during my training. “House-sitter” sounds so much better than “homeless”.

The gang at Bearclaw Lodge for helping out so I could train, and for being super co-workers. Thank you to Heather Muir and James Mould for holding down the fort, and Gene & Joy Allen for being really, really understanding bosses.

All my friends at e.l.f. Silviculture for a great season and for contributing thousands of trees to the cause. Wes Martin deserves a special shout-out for going WAY above & beyond, and for hosting us while we were on our school presentation road trip.

Christine Birnie, for sound & timely advice, and for generously demonstrating her faith in me. I am humbled.

Lindsay & Patti Eberts, for their belief in the project and for sharing Lynn Cox’s story with me. It was a great complement to my own training.

Greg Brown for offering thoughtful advice, coaching me to speak with the media, suffering through sprint workouts, and for agreeing to be (part of) the contingency plan.

All of the people who have worked, and continue to work, to make the trip happen by coordinating community events, media relations, answering odd questions, and doing various other thankless tasks. Thank you Todd & Kathy Stockner, Cassidy Helps, Frances Birdsell, Taylor Bachrach, Michael Clarke, Julia Hill, and Ingrid Granlin; all of the grunt work and none of the fun!

The spouses & children of the swim team members, for proudly supporting their loved ones’ participation in this project. They are: Yvonne, Lauren, & Darren Eddy; Chris Robberts; Steve, Grant, and Sarah MacPhail; and Alana Wadley & her newborn, Aurora Allen. Alana, thank you for understanding how much Jim’s participation will mean to the success of the swim. Carol MacPhail, thank you for helping make Shannon’s first-time participation in an SWCC expedition possible.

My Mum & Dad, Alex & Jim Howard, for their love & support, frequent phone calls as to my well-being, and for hustling the neighbours for pledges (way to go, Avocado St., et al!). Mum, thanks for imbuing me with your work ethic; Dad, thanks for sharing your passion for the rivers. I cannot wait to see you.

My siblings, Greg, Chris, and Moni, for being my biggest boosters and for championing the project. They fed me, housed me, employed me, worked out with me, and generally overwhelmed me with their kindness & support.

Niomi Mio, for keeping me grounded, sane, housed & fed, and for being honest, realistic, hilarious, and the best of listeners. Corasone!

Finally, to the swim team: Thank you for taking this leap of faith with me.

Let’s do this.

Comment on this article

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Your Comments...

Posted by Brian Huntington  on  07/16  at  02:22 PM

Yup…. let’s do this.

Posted by Breeann & Trevor  on  07/16  at  06:29 PM

Yes Ali we will miss the company and my garage has taken on a bit more of an organized look…...  We support you all in this adventure and will be waiting at the finish line!!!

Posted by Ingrid  on  07/16  at  07:30 PM

You are amazing Ali!  Good luck to you and your fantastic team on the river!  See you in Kispiox.

Posted by Leah  on  07/19  at  03:29 PM

Good luck lady. I will see you at some point on this swim…Can’t wait to see you at the finish line!

Posted by oleh  on  07/20  at  01:06 AM

I wish you all the best. I look forward to following your and your team’s journey.

Posted by Lynda  on  07/21  at  01:51 PM

Wow - what an inspiring action!  And even better to see the group of people behind you.  smile Know that people will be watching you swim from all over the province, country and world - and thinking about what it means!  You have NO idea how much impact you are having.

Keep strong and have fun.

Until we win…

Posted by Dan Morrison  on  07/21  at  01:57 PM

Be safe and best of luck !

Posted by Liz  on  07/22  at  05:56 AM

Ali… I remember riding a bus along the Skeena returning home to Ottawa… I wrote in my journal that the area is the most beautiful, pristine imaginable.
And now I wish you an exhilarating trip… great to read about your story.

Posted by Birmingham Tickets  on  08/28  at  11:39 AM

Never considered of this gracious point thank you a lot. I practiced this to my feed and appears to be working. Wonder how numerous airted connections I experience around from concerned in familiar bloggers blogs that give notice luv simply are pointing to my provender.

Posted by Robin  on  08/28  at  11:40 AM

You do give a detail here. I have study a destiny about this on different articles written by other people, merely I must admit that you experience showed your point here!.
Birmingham Tickets

Posted by Everton Tickets  on  09/13  at  12:43 AM

Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed and informative article. It has given me a lot of inspiration and I look forward to more like this in the future.