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In this Belcarra open water swimming race, there's no safety of the pool's edge

This weekend's open water swimming event is the third at Sasamat Lake this year.
Open water swimmers churn through the waters without the security of the edge of a pool for refuge if they get into trouble.

An open water swimming challenge is returning to Sasamat Lake.

In fact, Sunday's event is the third this year at the picturesque body of water in Belcarra.

The race on Sept. 17 is part of the Canaqua Sports Open Water Swim Series that was launched in 2015 with four events and now comprises 13 races as Far East as Summerside, P.E.I.

The series first stopped at Sasamat in 2022 with an Ice Cracker event to launch the season with races of 1.5 and 3 km, as well as a "daily double" that combined a 1.5 km swim with a 6.5 or 13 km run.

The fall event will have three swim options — 1 km, 3 km and 5 km.

There will also be the Mudskipper Fresh and Salty SwimRun Challenge where competitors start with a swim in Sasamat Lake, then run to Belcarra Park for another swim in the waters of Indian Arm before running back to Sasamat — a total distance of 20.7 km.

Organizer Serge Score said the allure of open water swimming goes beyond the physical challenge of churning through the water as fast as you can.

There's natural encounters with wildlife or sunken hazards to avoid and participants have to develop a keen awareness of their surroundings because there's no pool edge for refuge if things go south.

He said there's also the traffic jam of hundreds of swimmer splashing in the water to navigate.

Still, Score said, "it re-energizes you."

Sunday's event will be bolstered by members of the British Army open water swim team which has been competing in open water swimming events since 1923.

Their entry is helping promote the Winter Invictus Games that will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in 2025.

The Invictus Games is an international multi-sport competition for wounded, injured or sick service men and women. It was founded in 2014 by Prince Harry, who was inspired by a similar event in the United States called the Warrior Games.

This year's Summer Invictus Games wrap up Saturday, Sept. 16 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Racing starts at 9 a.m.