56th annual QB Ocean Mile Swim

This year’s Qualicum Beach Ocean Mile Swim was a wet one, as the 56th annual featured lots of liquid sunshine.

Swimmers head out at the start of Sunday's 56th annual Qualicum Beach Ocean Mile Swim.

Swimmers head out at the start of Sunday's 56th annual Qualicum Beach Ocean Mile Swim.

This year’s Qualicum Beach Ocean Mile Swim was a wet one, as the 56th annual featured lots of liquid sunshine.

“It’s never rained like this for the swim before — ever,” a drenched Anne Porteous, RDN recreation programmer and event coorinator and MC surmised as she slogged back up from the shoreline after the 3 p.m. start.

Held as always on the Qualicum Beach waterfront by the boat ramp, the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the 56 swimmers ranging in age from eight to 70.

The tide was out, which meant the mass start began quite a ways out from shore.

Prior to the start, Porteous informed the entrants of a thunder and lightning alert, and that if there were any signs of either (which there wasn’t), the swimmers would be called back in.

There were 14 awards doled out including a new age category for swimmers 56-64 in memory of longtime booster Doug Taylor who passed away this year.

Also missed Sunday was OMS co-founder Betty Breakwell who passed away last week at the age of 90.

“They were definitely on our minds today,” said Porteous.

Back for their 20-plus consecutive OMS were the Poland’s — Peter (dad), Deb (mom) and their recently married daughter Breanne who made the trip from Squamish where she’s a teacher.

In the end, Parksville’s Haley Bennet, 13, who is fresh off the Canadian National Swim Championships in Montreal where she won bronze in the 1,500 Free as part of the RAC Breakers, was the big winner Sunday, as she placed first overall with a time of 28:22, which also secured her the hardware for First Dist. 69 Resident in; first local lady to finish, and first in the 13U category.

OTHER RESULTS:  The trophy for Most Senior participant went to 70-year-old Claus Schmidt from Qualicum Beach in 1:20.

The youngest participant was eight-year-old Camryn Stannard from Parksville in a time of 1:10.08.

1st Place – Open (wetsuit) Class went to Owen Brown from Port Alberni in 29:05.

1st Place 14-18 yrs.: Joelle Woung from Ft. McMurray in 36.34.

1st Place 19-25: Jesse McCowan from Victoria in 38:01.

1st Place 26-35: Alanna Bochynski from Parksville at 43:19.

1st Place 36-45: Jason Hare from Parksville at 33 minutes.

1st Place 46-55: Qualicum Beach’s Peter Poland at 40:10.

1st Place 56-64: Avila Rodes from Victoria at 38:14.

1st Place 65&over: Erik Warners in 57:50.

Results will be posted on www.rdn.bc.ca by Wednesday.