Kiwanis Double Cross Swim event organizer Bob McLaughlin completes his 2019 swim across the Ottawa River and back by touching a barrel located at the shoreline of the Pembroke Marina. McLaughlin has been participating in the swim since he founded it 35 years ago.
Anthony Dixon / Pembroke Observer and News
As if swimming across the Ottawa River and back wasn’t enough of a challenge, heavy winds and waves made the 35th edition of the Kiwanis Double Cross even more difficult.The event, run by the Kiwanis Club of Pembroke, raised between $7,500 and $8,000 for the service club, which will be used to help fund various projects intended to better the lives of children in the community.Over 20 Kiwanians and family members of the four swimmers gathered along the shoreline at the Pembroke marina to cheer on the participants.The Kiwanis Double Cross Swim was started over three decades ago by past club president Bob McLaughlin. He has now swum all 35 editions of the Double Cross. He entered the Ottawa River just after 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, completing the swim from Pembroke to Desjardinsville, Que. and back in one hour and 54 minutes.“It was very rough out there today,” McLaughlin said. “It was harder going over than coming back because of swimming into the waves and the wind, even though I think the wind came up and was a bit stronger on the way back. You were taking water on almost every breath.”
Participants in the 2019 Kiwanis Double Cross Swim were, from left, Glenn Collins, Chris Sanzo, event founder and organizer Bob McLaughlin and Brendan Oattes. Sanzo received the trophy for the fastest time this year at 1.23:30 and also the being the biggest non-Kiwanian fundraiser.
Anthony Dixon /
Pembroke Observer and News
Also taking part this year was Chris Sanzo, who was back after taking a few years off, and Glenn Collins who first swam the Double Cross 30 years ago. Brendon Oates swam a single cross of the river in 42 minutes. Sanzo’s time was 1.23:30, McLaughlin’s 1.54:37 and Collins’ 1:59:30.“We have to give credit to our spotters,” McLaughlin noted meaning the people that accompanied each swimmer in a kayak, to ensure their safety and to help keep them on course in the big rolling waves. “They keep us on course, do the aiming for us. We couldn’t do this without them.”McLaughlin was also quick to thank all the people that financially supported the swim for their generosity and making the Double Cross swim fundraising effort a success.Asked if he realized back in 1984 that he would still be swimming in the event 35 years after he started it, McLaughlin laughed a little.“No I didn’t, but here I am. It just takes a little longer,” he firstname.lastname@example.org