They did it! Swimmers reach Vancouver Island after 12-mile swim from Peninsula
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Chris Simmons
A kayaker watches over one of the three swmmers who was en route to Vancouver Island from the North Olympic Peninsula.

By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

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VANCOUVER ISLAND — They made it.

Three Bainbridge Island men — one 60 and two others in their late 50s — on Friday swam across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the North Olympic Peninsula to Vancouver Island, a distance of some 12 miles.

“An hour in, we were all wondering if we were going to make it because of the cold,” said Paul Webber, who swam the Strait with Orlando Boleda and Ken Goodman.

They left Freshwater Bay west of Port Angeles at 6:55 a.m. Friday and came ashore slightly west of Beechy Head on Vancouver Island in about seven hours. They were supported by three boats and three kayaks.

Boleda was the first in at 1:53 p.m., accomplishing the long-distance swim in 6 hours and 58 minutes.

Webber arrived 12 minutes later, at 2:05 p.m. and Goodman reached shore at about 2:40 p.m.

They returned to Port Angeles on support boats, posed for photos on the deck of the Isle of Shoals, a support boat owned by Kristin Capaccioli and Geroge Fleischfresser of Port Angeles, and cracked geezer jokes.

Webber is 56, Boleda is 59 and Goodman is 60.

“Is it true you’re calling this the ‘geezer swim?’” one asked. When asked if they were calling it by that name, they all shook their heads vigorously.

“We’re the young turks,” Boleda said.

“We’re showing the youngsters how to do it,” Goodman added.

“Tell them we found a video game about this and it was boring so we decided to swim across instead,” Webber said.

A Canadian fisherman, who told Burger his name was Raymond Martin, hailed the lead support boat when the swimmers were some 3-to-4 miles from Vancouver Island.

He told the crew he would give them a fish when the swimmers came ashore.

Once they arrived, he handed over a huge silver salmon. The swimmers plan to grill it.

All the swimmers wore wet suits and support crew members fed them warm soup and sweetened water.

Some of crew supporting the swimmers were from the brokerage firm of D.A. Davidson & Co., Simmons said.

Webber is a financial advisor with the company's Bainbridge Island office.

Goodman is an attorney. Boleda is vice president of operations for KP LLC in Seattle,

They've done open-water swims around Bainbridge Island since 2005.

In 2007, they organized a swim from Bainbridge Island to west Seattle, a distance of 5 miles, and in 2008 did it round trip, Goodman said.

The three men, along with four other people, formed a charity in 2007 called Arms Around Bainbridge to raise money to give financial assistance to people with serious illnesses.

“The signature event is a swim around Bainbridge Island every August,” said Goodman, who serves with Boleda on the board.

Last year, Goodman and Boleda completed a 10-mile swim in the Willamette River near Portland, Ore.

“That was flat, not much current — easier conditions” than open ocean, Goodman said.

The swim from Freshwater Bay to Church Point on Vancouver Island was the longest swim any of the three has attempted.

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Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at leah.leach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 19. 2014 10:16PM
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