Emily Epp, 17, holds a shell she found on her swim around Bowen Island, B.C. on Saturday June 17, 2017 in this photo provided by the Epp family. It took nearly 11 hours, but a 17-year-old girl from Kelowna, B.C., has completed her gruelling goal of swimming around an island off the coast of Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Handout.

Emily Epp, 17, holds a shell she found on her swim around Bowen Island, B.C. on Saturday June 17, 2017 in this photo provided by the Epp family. It took nearly 11 hours, but a 17-year-old girl from Kelowna, B.C., has completed her gruelling goal of swimming around an island off the coast of Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Handout.

B.C. teen preps to swim English Channel

Emily Epp is practicing for next month’s challenge by swimming around Bowen Island.

It took nearly 11 hours, but a 17-year-old girl from Kelowna, B.C., has completed her gruelling goal of swimming around an island off the coast of Vancouver.

Instead of resting, Emily Epp is now reaching for another milestone — she plans to swim across the English Channel next month and she’s raising thousands of dollars for a children’s hospice in the process.

“Her dad and I are super proud,” said Cheryl Epp, Emily’s mom. “She blows us away with how determined she is and how hard she’s been working.”

Emily continuously swam about 30 kilometres around Bowen Island on Saturday, braving the frigid waters of Howe Sound in just a bathing suit, a swim cap and goggles.

The tough conditions were meant to prepare the teen for what she’ll face during her international swim in mid-July.

The Channel Swimming Association says on its website that the English Channel is “considered by many to be the ultimate long distance challenge,” because the approximately 32 kilometre stretch hosts a variety of difficult conditions, including cold waters, high waves and occasional debris such as seaweed and wood planks.

Swimming off the coast of B.C. isn’t easy either.

Cheryl Epp said Emily faced rough waters, cool weather and nausea during her swim on Saturday, but never once wanted to quit.

“She was never in any doubt that she could do it,” Cheryl Epp said. “But sometimes things come up that you aren’t expecting. So she was happy she was able to push through.”

Emily has spent months training in Okanagan Lake and with her competitive swim team, but Saturday marked the first time she ever swam for more than six and a half hours continuously, her mom said.

“So to have gone 11 hours was really a mental breakthrough for her,” Cheryl Epp said.

She added that Emily wasn’t sore on Sunday, but was feeling “a little bit fatigued.”

Now Emily will begin tapering down the time and length of her swims in order to allow her body to rest and repair before she heads to England next month.

Swimming the English Channel will be more than just a cool experience for the teen. Emily is also using it as an opportunity to raise money for Canuck Place, a children’s hospice that has been an important place for the Epp family.

Cheryl Epp said they started receiving care there about five years ago for their daughter Elan, who lost all of her motor control following a viral infection when she was 18 months old.

“Elan was pretty sick at that point,” she said of her middle daughter, who is now 15. “We were having a lot of issues with pain management and feeding. And really just helping her to have the best quality of life that she can have.”

Epp said the program has improved Elan’s life dramatically.

“For our family, Canuck Place was life changing for all of us,” she said. “As a parent, just seeing her be happy again was huge.”

Elan’s success is what inspired Emily to “do whatever she can” to help other kids, Cheryl Epp said. Swimming just seemed like the natural option, she added.

So far, Emily has raised more than $4,000 for her English Channel swim and a Vancouver-based foundation is matching all the donations she brings in.

Just Posted

BC Ferries issued a reminder on May 17 that there will be no additional sailings over the Victoria Day weekend and that travel is limited to essential reasons only. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
No additional holiday weekend sailings

BC Ferries reminds travellers health orders are in place for essential travel only

Reverend Paul Williams of St. Andrews Cathedral Church stands next to the metal cross showing the enormity of the fabricated piece by a parishioner and stored away for over ten years. The goal is to have the cross mounted to the roof of the sanctuary so it can welcome those entering the harbour. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
A cross to bear for the roof of St. Andrews Cathedral Church

A fabricated metal cross made by a parishioner is seeing the light of day after 15 years in storage

Kristy Maier, Prince Rupert mom, SD 52 trustee, basketball treasurer, district PAC liaison said it is important to teach children to be part of the community. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of the City – Kristy Maier

Coming back to her ‘people’ Kristy Maier now teaches little people how to be a community

It doesn’t matter where or how you received a COVID-19 vaccination, to receive the second immunization everyone must register on the ‘Get Vaccinated’ system health officials said, on May 11. While numbers are down Prince Rupert has not yet ‘zero’ cases as of numbers reported for May 2nd to 8th. (Image: BCCDC)
Prince Rupert still not at ‘zero’ COVID-19 cases

For second immunizations everyone in Prince Rupert and region must register, health officials said

Food programs such as the BC Fruit and Veggies program are important to student learning and students would be at a loss without them, Jeremy Janz principal of Pacific Coast School said, on May 13. Full tummies are the best way to start the day for Prince Rupert students, Natalia White (11) and Nikisha Johnson (12) who attended the official launch of the Breakfast Club of Canada program at PRMS on Feb. 25, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
UPDATED: School fruits and veggies may be cut, said BC Liberals — Not so said Premier’s office

P.R. students healthy food knowledge grew from the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional program

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Most Read