CANMORE – Dozens of swimmers dove head-first into Quarry Lake on Saturday (July 16), but it wasn’t to cool down from the persistent summer heat.
Following a two-year hiatus, the 2022 Grizzly Open Water Swim returned to the little lake that’s fed by an underground mountain spring for 500 metres, 1,500m and 3,000m races.
Canmore teenager Benedeck Purnhauser and world record co-holder Elana Taub were among the top swimmers and triathletes testing the waters.
A former national-level rower, Taub was an integral part of setting a world record in 2020 for continuous indoor rowing over 24 hours with the women at the Calgary Rowing Club. She finished her 3,000-metre swim at 56:57.9, fast enough for first in the women’s 30-39 and sixth overall.
Living just around the corner, Quarry Lake is one of the rower-turned-triathlete’s home training grounds.
“[The water is] beautifully warm today and it’s a stunning place to swim,” said Taub. “I love looking at the mountains and I can’t think of a better place to have a race.”
Six laps and nearly one hour in the turquoise-blue Quarry Lake was the longest open water swim of Taub’s life, and it's helped her get in the zone for the rest of the season.
“I was so happy to be done, but I was really excited. It was a great race and it gave me lots of confidence for my next half ironman,” she said.
Dynamite kid Purnhauser was one of four teens with the fastest overall times.
The 14-year-old had a motor on his back in the male 1,500m, and finished first in 24:22, edging Edmonton’s Ryan Scheuerman by less than three seconds (24:24.9).
“I really didn’t think I was going to win overall, but at the end I gave it a last push,” Purnhauser said.
One of the top swimmers in Alberta, Purnhauser won four provincial medals last March under the Bow Valley Riptide banner.
In the week leading up to the open swim, the teenager tested the waters of Quarry Lake every day in preparation.
“I know the course pretty well and I’ve been here quite a bit,” he said.
Strathmore teenager Charlie Yorkston (7:06.4) was first overall in the female 500m. Canmore’s Raelyn Judge (9:56.3) and Trillian Klinkhamer (10:22.3) finished second and third, respectively.
Calgary teen Addyson Bymoe (23:12.7) had the top spot in the female 1,500m. The top local was Caleigh Leighton (26:48.5) in second place.
Seventeen-year-old Quinlann Bymoen (43:11.5) finished first in the female 3,000m and overall was the second fastest. Canmore’s Elleri Dunn, 19, took second spot in 46:30.1.
Calgary’s Ricardo Parra Hernandez won the male 3,000m at a time of 41:59.4. Calgary’s Ian Washbrook (46:18.3) was second and Canmore’s Gabriel Dunn (46:41.7) was third.
Competing in the 70-99 aged category, Canmore’s Earl Emberton knifed through Quarry Lake to win the overall male 500m in 11:26.5.
Calgary’s Kai Elser (13:20.8) took silver and Canmore’s Jason Fox (17:09.9) snagged bronze.
Saturday’s hot temperatures brought sunbathers lakeside to watch the field of swimmers in the laidback atmosphere.
For full results, visit www.zone4.ca.