Big showing for Swim the Kyle
Emotional moment for Libby Earle when she drops out of swim
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.
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
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.