She’s climbing out of the swimming pool and heading for the open sea.
Nanaimo’s Samira Rusman has come up with something a little different for a fundraiser – she’s going to try to swim from Gabriola Island to Swy-a-lana Lagoon.
Rusman is a provincial- and national-level competitor with the Nanaimo Ebbtides masters swim club. She won a bronze medal at the Canadian championships earlier this year in the 200-metre freestyle relay.
This Sunday (Aug. 25), she intends to swim approximately 30 times that far.
“It will be my first open swim in the ocean after 30 years, but I think I will be OK,” she said.
Rusman used to swim competitively in her teens in her home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and lived amidst the conflict before coming to Canada, son in tow, in the late ’90s.
“I love Bosnia, it’s wonderful people, but when I immigrated here I started changing my views to life,” she said. “I have so [many] opportunities here that I didn’t have over there.”
She isn’t sure if this sort of fundraiser would work there, but she hopes it can be successful here.
She has good reason to try – a friend’s granddaughter is living with cancer, and Rusman wanted to find some way to help.
“I got inspiration from all these people that are raising money for cancer and everything else. I said, ‘I can do something for the community. I can do something different than just something for me, like competing.’” she said. “And I feel really good about this. Really good.”
She’s done a couple of lake and ocean races this summer to prepare, but expects to be challenged as she goes out to sea.
“I have to adjust my swimming and my style of swimming to waves,” she said. “If it takes longer, it takes longer, but I’m going to finish, that’s my goal … However long it takes, it doesn’t matter.”
She expects to be on the water at least three hours on Sunday after diving into Descanso Bay at 9 a.m.
That same day, the public is invited to try to match Rusman’s efforts with laps at Bowen Park’s Kin Pool from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.. Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
To donate to Rusman’s fundraiser, called Samira Swims for Kids with Cancer, visit www.copsforcancerbc.ca/tourderock/samirarusman.