70-year-old Swims for Hope

Published on March 17, 2017

Gander resident Aubrey Anstey undertook a 10-kilometre swim – 400 lengths of the Arts and Culture Centre pool – on March 17 to support Swim for Hope.

©Submitted photo

Gander, N.L. – Just a couple of weeks shy of 70, and seven months out from a knee replacement, Aubrey Anstey had no qualms about diving in to help a good cause.

The Gander resident entered the Arts and Culture Centre pool at 9 a.m. Friday morning and planned to be there until 3:30 p.m.

His goal was to swim 400 lengths of the pool, the equivalent of 10 kilometres.

At the time of the interview, and with two hours of swimming left, Anstey had reached lap 300.

A mentally and physically daunting task, to reach his destination Anstey set a series of smaller goals, which he called the “pennies” system.

“I took eight pennies and placed them at the end of the pool, after swimming 50 lengths I’d remove a penny, eight times 50 equals 400 lengths,” he said. “I do it that way because looking at 400 lengths in total seems like such a faraway goal.”

Anstey was swimming to support the province’s 21st annual Swim for Hope.

The 12-hour continuous swim relay is taking place at 12 swim clubs across the province today. Funds raised are shared between the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation and the participating swim clubs, which are members of Swimming Newfoundland and Labrador. 
According to the Swimming NL, Swim for Hope has raised over two million dollars since its inception.

Anstey is one of 59 swimmers – 54 youth and five adults – taking part in the event.

An avid swimmer – six times a week – he got involved three years ago to show support for his sister, Doreen Shallow, who was battling ovarian cancer.

“Unfortunately, she passed before the event took place, but I decided to go ahead with it in her memory,” said Anstey. “I decided to keep doing it in her honour and to support a good cause.”

In the three years he’s taken part in the race, Anstey has raised $6,700 through pledges.

And he doesn’t plan on stopping. As long as he’s able to take to the water, he’ll try his best to continue supporting Swim for Hope.

Gander organizer Diane Vey-Morawski had a lot of praise for Anstey’s continued support.

“He’s quite an inspiration and such a wonderful supporter of cancer research and our local swim club,” she said.

Vey-Morawski also pointed out that the fundraiser was a big question mark this year.

The pool had been closed since last summer for repairs, only reopening its doors mid-February.

In less than a month the event was organized.

“We kind of set our expectations low this year because it is a 10K marathon and nobody was really trained for it,” she said. “But people realize that this is such a worthwhile cause, everyone is affected by cancer at some point, and the support we’ve received has been amazing.”


Tallies from the Gander event haven’t been finalized yet as the marathon is expected to continue until midnight.