In 2018, I am planning my final 2 big marathon swims. On July 18-20, I am planning on swimming the Santa Barbara Channel from Santa Cruz Island to Oxnard, California, a distance of 30 km. This swim is similar to the Catalina swim, but 100 km further north, on the north side of Los Angeles. The water is colder and the currents stronger. The main reason for doing this swim is to complete the "California Triple Crown" (Catalina, Lake Tahoe and the Santa Barbara Channel). Only 7 people have completed these 3 swims - and no Canadians! I would also be the first Canadian to swim from Santa Cruz Island, which is the "crown jewel" of the Santa Barbara islands and an ecological and marine preserve in the Channel Island National Park.

During the window of August 16-22, I am hoping to fulfill a 20 year dream by swimming across the eastern end of Lake Superior, from Whitefish Point, Michigan to Pancake Bay, Ontario, a distance of 29 km. This is a new route. Only 2 people have swum Lake Superior before, down at the western tip of the Lake. In addition to the cold water (hoping for 15-19 deg. c) and big wave challenge, this swim is interesting because it passes less than 20 km from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. The massive storms and waves are legendary.

For those of you who don't know me, I swam Lake Ontario the easy way in 1983 and the hard way in 1984, becoming the first person to have swum it in both directions. I "came out of retirement" to swim the English Channel in 2011. I won the Van Audenaerde cup for the toughest endurance feat of the year. In 2013, I was the oldest Canadian to swim the Catalina Strait in California. After swimming around Manhattan Island in 2014 (oldest Canadian), I became the first Canadian to complete the coveted Triple Crown of open water swimming (English Channel, Catalina Strait and Manhattan). In 2015, I was the first to swim between three provinces: from Nova Scotia north to New Brunswick and across the Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island. In March 2016, I fulfilled a 3 year long dream, to be the first Canadian (and oldest woman) to swim across the icy, treacherous Cook Strait between the South and North Islands of New Zealand. In August 2016, I swam across Cape Cod, becoming only the 9th person and the first Canadian to swim this historic Pilgrim route across the shark infested swirling tidal waters. On August 20-21, 2017, I was the oldest woman and the first Canadian to swim the length of Lake Tahoe from Camp Richardson, California in the south to Hyatt Beach, Nevada in the north, a distance of 34 kilometers. The major challenge was the altitude of the lake, at 6200 feet or 1897 m. (See links below for more detail).

I am pleased to be able to use this opportunity to raise money for Sashbear, an organization founded by Lynn Courey, whose daughter, Sasha, a swimmer with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), died by suicide in 2011. Sashbear funds education programs for therapists, families and in schools. I have dedicated my psychiatric career to the treatment and research of BPD, which has a suicide rate of 10%. More treatment programs and support for families are desperately needed in Canada. Please support my swims by donating to Sashbear. Thank you. http://sashbear.org/en/

Sunday, 17 June 2018

2018 Training swim

Yesterday, I swam 25 kilometers in 11 hours 21 minutes. It was way too hot to be swimming- air up to 27 deg C and water 23 to 24 deg C. I am now physially and mentally ready for this year's swims.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Last swim

Despite the air being at its coolest, I made my mind up that I would swim more than an hour for my last shift. I actually felt warmer, probably because I sprinted and kicked hard. The sky was lightening while I swam. I figured I would be relieved to finish but I was surprised to realize that I was sad that this challenging and fun event was over.

Third swim

The water was so still and flat. The lights of the city were sparkling in the water. It was magical. Without the wind it was surprisingly warm.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Sunset swim

I was thrilled to have sunset come up on my turn. I prepared my clear goggles and lights for night. After a few minutes of swimming as the sun was setting on the buoy line course, a group of our swimmers stopped me and asked if I wanted to swim out the cove's opening into the Bay. The view of the purple pink sunset behind the Golden Gate bridge was spectacular! A once in a lifetime experience.

First swim

I swam my first hour around noon. So far so good. It's a glorious day!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Relay starts at 9 a.m. tomorrow

I'm on a team of 9 people. They are from all over the U.S. A. from Maryland through Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska to California. Our goal is to have fun.
Every time I swim, I can do one, two or three 25 minute laps. I just have to let the person in the relay following me know before I get in the water.
The water temperature is up to 54 deg F, or 12.2 C. I hardly got cold today in my hour long swim as the top 15 cm were warmed by the sun.
The weather has been and will be unprecedentedly beautiful. The day will be sunny and 20 deg. C. The night time temperature is even going to be warmer than predicted, a low of only 11 deg. C. No wind, rain or fog.
I have the wifi figured out, so I will keep you updated.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Chilly swim in Aquatic Park

My goal today was to swim over an hour in the warm 20 deg C sunny afternoon. The water continues at 53.5 deg F (12 deg C). The reasoning was that if I can swim over an hour when the air is warm, then I can do an hour at night when the air is 10 deg C. I succeeded and swam 1 hr 17 min. The sauna sure was nice.
Today I swam at the Dolphin Club. Tomorrow I swim next door at the South End Rowing Club.