Executives and Directors


Christine Baker

Christine is a relatively recent Vancouverite and fell in love with open water swimming during the pandemic. She’s eager to encourage new swimmers to get involved in the sport and thrilled to help shepherd the organization this season!

Vice President & Race Director

Jason Abelson

Jason is an active member in the local swimming community, both indoors and in the open water. Growing up in South Africa, swimming played a big role in his childhood. While he loves swimming in the ocean, he’s also terrified of everything that he can and can’t see in the water, especially seals. He’s convinced they can smell his fear. Feel free to make fun of him if you see him on the shore!

Practice Swim Coordinator

Tanner Zekonic

Tanner is a born prairie-boy with BC roots, which is what led him back to the ocean where he now occasionally cold plunges (on special occasions). While he slowly but surely gets more comfortable in the water, he’s excited to spend plenty of time near it this summer as your beach-bound Practice Swim Coordinator! On off days, you might find him out for a run in Pacific Spirit, at the aquarium, practicing French, or taking in a Canadiens game.

Secretary & Canada Day Challenge Race Director

Jack Tagg

Jack completed his first ocean swim in 2021 before moving to Vancouver in 2022. He was immediately impressed with the VOWSA community and affordability of the practice swims. Jack is looking forward to continue promoting the benefits of ocean swimming and giving back to the VOWSA community this year.


Ron Johnston

Ron is a recreational swimmer and has been an active member of VOWSA since 2015. He joined VOWSA to become comfortable in open water swimming in order to do an Olympic distance Triathlon. Ron also likes cycling, doing the Grouse Grind and working out at the YWCA.

Media Director & Social Coordinator

Shareen Chin

Shareen started swimming because it seemed like an important skill to know for someone that races on sailboats. Through encouraging lessons with swim coaches and joining VOWSA on-and-off since 2016, Shareen is now a year-round swimmer in the ocean! These days, if she’s not riding her bike or swimming the VOWSA route, she’s probably off enjoying the beauty of a sunrise from the ocean and maybe wishing for snow.

Safety Coordinator & Bay Challenge Co-Race Director

Jessi Harewicz

Jessi has been volunteering with VOWSA since 2017, after swimming all the VOWSA races in 2016. She is a marathon swimmer who, in 2022, was the 1st Canadian to swim the North Channel (Ireland to Scotland). She has also swum the English Channel, Catalina Channel (LA), NYC circumnavigation, and, in BC ocean waters, she swam Nanaimo to Kitsilano Beach (58km) in 2019. She has also completed 2 ‘Ice Miles’ (International Ice Swimming Association – 1605m in sub 5C) . She loves sharing her knowledge by swimming and exploring areas new and old in BC and the world.

Permits Coordinator & Bay Challenge Co-Race Director


Erin remembers her first open water swim very well – at 16 years old doing the swim leg of a triathlon. She was kicked, she choked on water, she wanted to quit, but could not let her team down so kept on going. This clearly was the catalyst for her love of open water swimming! One of the many things Erin loves about open water swimming is the sense of community it brings. She incorporates swimming into her travels, because this community stretches worldwide and the opportunities are endless. Erin is excited to serve as the Permits Coordinator again this year as VOWSA works together to share their love of swimming with all of you.

Website Coordinator & Kits Challenge Co-Race Director

Iris Gutowski

Iris started her open water swimming journey on a trip to Hawaii with her husband after simultaneously falling in love with the ocean and being frustrated by her ability to traverse it.  When she got home she wondered if it was possible to swim in the ocean in Canada – and through the magic of the internet and the excellent work of the previous web coordinator she found out about Vowsa.  She showed up to her first practice swim in 2019 and has been back ever since.
Merchandise Coordinator

Daisie Huang

Daisie discovered open water swimming when she moved to Vancouver about ten years ago. She loves the water, but as a botanist, she often thinks it’s too far away from the plants. She’s happy to help people get more involved in open water swimming and is looking forward to picking out some cool and quality merch for the organization.
Past President & Around the Bay Co-Race Director

Stephanie Flynn

Stephanie is a past VOWSA President, this year she is back to lend her expertise to the board and Co-Direct the Around the Bay Challenge Race.

Volunteer Coordinator

Courtney Kohnen

Courtney has loved open water swimming (and VOWSA!) since her very first practice in 2017. Her proudest OWS moment is the time she finished four laps during a VOWSA practice, with a full 27 seconds to spare. She is never more in love with life than on the back half of a VOWSA loop, while the sun sets over Vancouver Island. Courtney is a proud unlicensed practitioner of Consensual Peer Pressure (TM), so please track her down if you need a pep talk before trying for your next challenge, whatever that looks like for you – or if you’d like to volunteer at any of our races or events!

Sponsorship Coordinator

Daisy Zhang

Daisy learned to swim front crawl in 2021 and joined VOWSA’s practice swims the following summer. She took many floating breaks in her first season. After open water swimming lessons and more practice swims, she has grown more comfortable swimming open water. Her first open water swim race was the 1 km Canada Day Challenge in the calm waters of Sasamat Lake in 2023. This year, she would like to improve her sighting skills.

Member at Large

JR Guerrero

An avid fan of open water swimming, JR’s first encounter with VOWSA was through the Kits beach practice swims in 2019. Ever since, he has swum in most bodies of water including streams, lakes, rivers, open ocean, and at local Vancouver pools where he swims regularly. Having participated in VOWSA and Across the Lake races in the past years, including a Master’s race in 2022, JR loves to challenge himself and friends with long distance swims, breath holds, and cold plunges!  JR believes in community and it’s where he anchors his passion for open-water swimming with like-minded, active, & fun individuals.