Skip to content

Morning swim across Elk Lake splashes up thousands for Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Rehabilitation assistant Lucas Gentina finishes 2K swim, learns that he raised $8,500
Lucas Gentina swam 2K across Elk Lake Monday to fundraise for residents living in the long-term unit at Saanich Peninsula Hospital where he works as a rehabilitation assistant. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

The amount Lucas Gentina raised for elders in long-term care at Saanich Peninsula Hospital seemed to have left him more breathless than the two kilometres he swam through the icy waters of Elk Lake on Monday morning.

When told after completing his feat he had raised $8,500 with the swim, he expressed genuine surprise.

“That’s a lot of money, man, ” he said, sporting a big grin. “How? $8,500, dude. Oh man, when I got in, I thought it was like $5,000 or something. That’s great. Thank you for being such an awesome community.”

Gentina, who works as a rehabilitation assistant for seniors in long-term care at the hospital in Central Saanich, said conditions were good during his swim, which started at 10 a.m. at Water Ski Beach in the lake’s northwest corner and finished at Eagle Beach near the Victoria City Rowing Club.

RELATED: ‘Aquaman’ raising funds for seniors at Saanich Peninsula Hospital with Elk Lake swim

He never doubted he would finish the swim and in fact, found time to watch an eagle fly overhead.

“I was like, ‘wow, that’s awesome,’” he said. “Yeah, it was cool.”

As Gentina approached the shoreline accompanied by a safety boat, the group of friends, work colleagues and representatives of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Health Care Foundation waiting at the finish area grew to about a dozen.

He hopes the money can help buy more wheelchairs for residents at the facility. While the exact use of the funds has yet to be determined, Gentina is already planning his next swim, across Saanich Inlet. And unlike Monday’s chilly endeavour, he plans to tackle the event during the warmer summer months.

“That’s our next big thing,” he said, adding an obvious statement from spending nearly an hour in frigid water: “I’m cold, man!”

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagr

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
Read more