Big show­ing for Swim the Kyle

Emo­tional mo­ment for Libby Earle when she drops out of swim

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

The tide was low and the wa­ter was cold as six brave swim­mers pa­raded to the shores of River­head, Har­bour Grace Satur­day, July 12 with flags draped around their shoul­ders.

The group was pre­par­ing to swim from the rocky beach to the ship­wrecked S.S. Kyle some 150 me­tres away, touch the hull and re­turn to shore in the an­nual Swim the Kyle event.

The flags, which in­cluded the Repub­lic of New­found­land, New­found­land and Labrador provin­cial, the Cana­dian and Amer­i­can, were sym­bols of their home prov­inces and coun­tries.

Libby Earle, daugh­ter of the Kyle’s last cap­tain, the late Guy Earle, her hus­band Brian DePiero, Matt Galway and Bri­anne Chafe — both from Har­bour Grace — Jennifer McCreath and Cory Pen­ner stood on shore, wait­ing for the mo­ment to step into the freez­ing cold wa­ters.

More than 200 res­i­dents of Har­bour Grace and sur­round­ing ar­eas gath­ered around the River­head board­walk, cheer­ing on the par­tic­i­pants.

Not as planned

The site has been the start­ing line for the event since it’s in­cep­tion in 2010. Al­though it went off with­out a hitch, things didn’t go quite as planned for Earle, who is one of the or­ga­niz­ers. Earle has been suit­ing up and swim­ming to the grounded ship ev­ery year.

This year, she has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some health is­sues with her back, neck and spine, but she de­cided to at­tempt the swim with the as­sis­tance of a boo­gie board and a neck brace. When Earle swam about 20 me­tres, she de­cided to re­turn to shore.

“It’s very dis­ap­point­ing,” Earle told The Com­pass.

Her hus­band and the re­main­ing four swim­mers made it to the hull of the 101-yearold ves­sel and cheered.

Al­though Libby couldn’t com­plete the swim, her hus­band did it for the first time. They em­braced when he stepped out of the ocean.

Libby has vowed to do some more swim­ming and hope­fully be phys­i­cally able to com­plete next year’s event.

Fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties a suc­cess

There may have been some 200 people ob­serv­ing the swim, but many more at­tended the first fam­ily day of ac­tiv­i­ties for the 5th an­niver­sary.

It was an event many chil­dren won’t soon for­get, with a very skilled bal­loon twis­ter, Paul Shep­pard, and a tal­ented face pain­ter, Joanne Coady, high­light­ing the af­ter­noon.

There was also live en­ter­tain­ment, in­clud­ing the telling of the “Smoke­room on the Kyle” by Kelly Rus­sell, a recita­tion his fa­ther, the late Ted Rus­sell, wrote and per­formed many times be­fore.

Some chil­dren and par­ents told The Com­pass that the event was well-needed in Har­bour Grace, with some say­ing they hope there are many more to come.

Pho­tos by Melissa Jenk­ins/ The Com­pass

The Swim the Kyle event brought out six swim­mers this year to the River­head

coast­line, who bravely en­tered the At­lantic Ocean and swam to the S.S. Kyle

ship­wreck some 150 me­tres away. The group car­ried their provin­cial and

na­tional flags to show their pride. The swim­mers were, from left, Libby Ear

le, Bri­anne Chafe, Matt Galway, Jennifer McCreath, Corey Pen­ner and Brian

DePiero.

Libby Earle (right) gets con­soled by friend Kelly Rus­sell when her health is­sues ul­ti­mately led to her giv­ing up the swim. Libby is the daugh­ter of the for­mer cap­tain, the late Guy Earle.

All of the chil­dren were en­joy­ing the bal­loon char­ac­ters, es­pe­cially Jef­frey (left) and Joshua (right) Fin­lay. One of the most dif­fi­cult bal­loons of the day was Jef­fery’s spi­der, which took more than a dozen bal­loons and was the only spi­der to get made at the event. Joshua re­quested Su­per Mario af­ter bal­loon twis­ter Paul Shep­pard said he couldn’t make Yoshi. Jan Fin­lay, the boys’ mom, was so ex­cited to see her sons so ex­cited.

Vanessa (left) and Vic­to­ria Parsons of Har­bour Grace show off their bal­loon char­ac­ters at the event. Vanessa, who is seven, was ex­cited about the lit­tle mermaid, and older sis­ter Vic­to­ria proved Olaf was for all ages. The two girls are the daugh­ters of Ali­son and Dwayne Parsons of Har­bour Grace.

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