Wolfville swimmer excited to take challenge of Northumberland Strait with The Big Swim

Published on August 3, 2017

Brendan Vibert of Wolfville is about to tackle The Big Swim in support of Brigadoon Village.


WOLFVILLE, NS - An Acadia University varsity swimmer says he’s excited to be taking The Big Swim challenge and feels a close personal connection to the cause.


Each paired with a support person in a kayak, approximately 50 swimmers from age 11 to 71 will be crossing the Northumberland Strait alongside the Confederation Bridge as part of The Big Swim on Aug. 6.


They’ll enter the water in Cape Jourimain, N.B., at 7 a.m. and swim to Borden-Carleton, P.E.I. It’s expected to take three to eight hours for the swimmers to make the crossing.


Over its history, more than 200 swimmers have raised $879,000 through The Big Swim. Again this year, all funds raised will help support Brigadoon Village.


21-year-old Brendan Vibert of Wolfville will be taking part in The Big Swim for the first time. The Acadia University Geology student said his roommate Jackson kayaked in the event twice and told him about the experience.


Vibert said he normally wouldn’t take part in longer swims but was inspired by a friend who has been battling cancer for the past five years.


“It’s a really good cause,” Vibert said. “He’s had a lot of involvement with Camp Brigadoon and that’s the reason why I chose to actually do the swim.”


Located at Aylesford Lake, Brigadoon Village is a not-for-profit recreational facility providing camp programming to children and families living with a chronic illness, chronic condition or special need.


For every $1,000 raised, one child is able to attend camp for one week. The fundraising goal for this year’s swim is $175,000, which would pay for a week at Brigadoon Village for 175 children.


Vibert started swimming competitively at age five. It’s his fourth year with Acadia’s varsity team and his third as co-captain.


“This is definitely going to be a challenge for me,” Vibert said. “It’s about 15 km of swimming.”


Vibert said that if it’s a perfectly calm day, it’s about 12 km across. However, in battling the current, swimmers can be taken several kilometers off course, travelling in more of an arc than a straight line. He said some have swam approximately 17 km in crossing the straight.


His goal is to make the crossing in four hours and 30 minutes to five hours. Vibert said he could probably do it in less than four hours if conditions are perfectly calm but this is unlikely.


Vibert usually averages 15 to 20 km a week of swimming. He normally tones down his training in the summer but has been completing three 5 km swims in the pool. Once every other week for the past few months he’s been doing longer open water swims at Lumsden Dam.


Vibert said he’s swum in the ocean before but hasn’t been training in saltwater. This is another challenge he’ll face the day of the event.


His younger brother, Sean, will be paddling alongside in a kayak. Vibert said he’s very thankful for his brother’s support.


Vibert has raised $1,500 through pledges from friends, family members and Acadia’s Earth and Environmental Science department. He’s very thankful for the generosity. It was easier to raise the money than he first thought, probably because it’s such a great cause and almost everyone has been touched by cancer.


The Big Swim, now in its seventh year, supports swimmers of all abilities. It’s organized by GIVETOLIVE, a volunteer organization dedicated to ending illness and disease by inspiring people to live healthy, happy lives through generosity, fitness and achieving the extraordinary.


To sponsor a swimmer, visit