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P.E.I. man to participate in 2018 Big Swim after last year’s event was cancelled

Ryan Bradley, shown sitting on the shore near the Confederation Bridge, will attempt to swim the Northumberland Strait on Sunday.
Ryan Bradley, shown sitting on the shore near the Confederation Bridge, will attempt to swim the Northumberland Strait on Sunday. - Contributed

When Ryan Bradley was a kid, he would look out from his family’s cottage in Cumberland and stare across the Northumberland Strait, wondering if he could swim to the other side.

On Sunday, he hopes to prove he can do just that.

This is the second year Bradley has signed up to swim the strait in the annual charitable swimming event known as the Big Swim. He says he was the only Islander set to participate in last year’s event where 50 participants swim from Cape Tormentine, N.B., to Borden-Carleton, P.E.I., to raise money and awareness for Camp Brigadoon Village in Nova Scotia.

Bradley had spent the weekend before the 2017 event in New Brunswick, but as participants lined the shore, the Big Swim was cancelled.

“There were heavy winds, thunder and lightning that Sunday morning. There was no alternative date,” Bradley said.

He was disappointed – not only for missing out on the swim, but also for the charity the swim promotes.

He had the opportunity to visit Camp Brigadoon Village and knows the importance of the cause he was swimming for.

“The way the camp runs, there is a charge (to enrol), but if you can’t pay anything they give you a full ride.”

The event planned to raise $150,000, and Bradley felt obligated to the supporters who donated $4,000 to him. So, he decided to do a swim of similar distance last year.

“I swam from the Dunedin Bridge in Bonshaw to the West River Bridge,” Bradley said.

The 45-year-old swimmer now has another chance to swim the Northumberland Strait as part of the Big Swim, which is scheduled for Aug. 12 this year.

Bradley began training again for the event five months ago.

“I started in the pool, but now I do most of my open water training off Kinlock Beach, but I also swim in Rustico and Glenfinnan Lake.”

On some of his longer swims, his wife, Shelly, and daughters Emma and Avery train alongside him on paddleboards.

“Last night my youngest and her friend came out on a three-kilometre swim.”

Bradley is happy to finally fulfil his dream and honour the obligation of donors to Camp Brigadoon Village when he and 49 others swim the strait.

“I am no doubt ready for the distance. There are a lot of variables, like weather, but it looks like the weekend is supposed to be good. I am not too worried about the actual swim, I just have to make sure I do what I trained to do,” he said.


At a glance

What: The Big Swim

When and where: On Aug. 12, 50 swimmers will enter the water at Cape Tormentine, N.B., with a goal of finishing at Borden-Carleton, P.E.I.

Why: The participants swim the Northumberland Strait in order to raise funds for Camp Brigadoon Village

For more information, click here.

To support Ryan Bradley’s fundraising efforts for the Big Swim, click here

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