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).
On July 19, 2018, I swam halfway across the Santa Barbara Channel in California and then encountered a very large shark that was demonstrating predatory behaviour. They wisely pulled me out. We sailed to the start again 5 days later but the winds were too high. I had to come back to California September 12 to complete the 30.6 km swim from Santa Cruz Island to Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard, California in a time of 18 hrs 45 minutes. I am the first Canadian (and oldest woman) to swim from Santa Cruz Island and the first Canadian and oldest person to complete the California Triple Crown. I capped off my marathon swimming career by swimming across Lake Superior at the mouth of Whitefish Bay on August 19, 2018 in 12 hrs 9 minutes. This 29 km route had never been done before, in fact I was only the third person to ever swim across Lake Superior. The water was chilly at 16.5 degrees Celsius. This was the fulfilment of a 20 year dream.
In 2019 and beyond, I am semi-retiring from marathon swimming by setting smaller goals that are less stressful and expensive. Thank you for your support over the last decade of adventure.
Sunday, 25 June 2017
Once the water warms up and I can do longer open water swims, there are 2 key swims that are important to prove a swimmer can do the distance.
In 2 weeks I will be doing the long swim, which will be 75% of the distance of Lake Tahoe. This year, I will do 3 laps of an 8.5 km circuit. In past years, for the long swim I have swum a lake, such as Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph or Lake of Bays. In 2011, for the long swim, I swam Lake Simcoe, which was 34 km, the same distance as the English Channel, This was to prove to myself that I could still do it because it was my first year out of retirement. In 2015, I swam the 3 Provinces, which was actually 4 km further than the Cook Strait, but the point was to prove I could swim for a long time in 15-16 degree C. water.
Towards the end of the month, I will do the split swim, which is an English Channel training concept. The goal is to do the distance of Lake Tahoe in 2 to 3 days.
Another swim that I will also do in July is the Swim for the Cure. I have swum it 10 of the last 16 years. This swim is organized by a nurse friend from St. Joseph's Hospital, Debbie Bang, to raise money for breast cancer research. Over the last 16 years, this swim has raised over $238,000. The swim is 12.8 km down the Trent-Severn waterway. For more information: www.swimforthecure.ca If you are interested in supporting breast cancer research, the link for my donation page is: http://convio.cancer.ca/site/TR/Thirdpartyevent/IFE_ON_CommunityPartnerships_?px=6939560&pg=personal&fr_id=23019#.WVCCHPkrLIV
Monday, 5 June 2017
Gulliver's is a beautiful spring fed quarry that warms up way before any of the other larger lakes and is perfect for early season open water training. Lots of triathletes and scuba divers use the lake for their training and lessons.
It's an awesome place for a picnic, too.