Susan Simmons and Jill Yoneda are headed out for a trip of lifetime.
Both headed to Washington State as they prepare to swim a 30-kilometres stretch between Port Angeles to Victoria, expected to take between 12-15 hours depending on conditions.
“All the chaos and planning is over. Now it’s more about relaxing into it and just shortening the distance between Port Angeles and Victoria in my head,” said Yoneda Saturday.
Both swimmers say it’s not the distance, nor the wind, that makes the swim nerve-wracking.
“It’s the cold,” said Simmons, “because I’m skin swimming, just swimming with a bathing suit, a cap and goggles, the water could be below 10-degrees. […] That part terrifies me”
The two have been training since last year and dipping into frigid waters every chance they get, getting their bodies accustom to the cold.
They are raising funds for causes close to their hearts; first nations children and multiple sclerosis. Both also determined to overcome physical limitations and inspired those with disabilities.
Jill Yoneda uses a device to walk due to a degenerative disc disease and Susan Simmons has lived with M-S for 20 years.
“Life does not end with a diagnosis. It really just begins,” said Simmons Saturday as she packed her boat.
Reaching the finish line isn’t guaranteed: Back in 2013 a Seattle man attempted the swim but gave up after more than seven hours.
But it’s not an impossible task, seven people have been known to complete the challenge.
Volunteers on kayaks and on boats will be following both swimmers, ensuring their safety and monitoring their vital signs.
They are hopeful they will be able to slip into the waters early Sunday morning but are mindful that strong winds may push them back a day or two.
Visit Jill Yoneda’s fundraising page here: gofundme.com/reconnect-ahousat-youth-surf-day
Visit Susan Simmons’ page here: withms4ms.com