2017 English Channel swim

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Guinness World Record

The September 2018 publication of the Guinness Book of World Records will include my world record swim for the Oldest Woman to swim the English Channel.  I can’t thank my son enough for encouraging me twenty years ago to attempt open water swimming.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Credit Suisse “The New Old Age”

I am deeply honored and grateful for Credit Suisse for including me in their banking magazine the Bulletin.  The article is called The New Old Age and it features eight grandparents as role models.  Many thanks to NYC photographer Christaan Felber for coming to Maine and capturing this wonderful photo at Pine Point.   Also,  a special thank you to swimsuit company Swimsuits for All for providing such a beautiful swimsuit.

Monday, November 13, 2017

2017 Solo Swim of Ontario Unveiling Ceremony

On Sunday, November 12, 2017 Solo Swims of Ontario held their annual unveiling ceremony located at Queen's Royal Park on the shore of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada.   Elizabeth Fry and Pat Gallant-Charette were honored with their names engraved on a plaque.  This prestigious award recognizes all successful swimmers who swam from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto's Marilyn Bell Park (32 miles).  Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa, President of the Solo Swims of Ontario, was the keynote speaker for this event.  Swimming legend Marilyn Bell DiLascio (80 years old) assisted with the unveiling.
Video credit:   Jean Murdoch-Gallant

Thursday, November 9, 2017

2017 English Channel Swimming Association Dinner and Presentation

     My son Tom and I had a fabulous time at the English Channel Swimming Association Dinner and Presentation evening.   The CSA did an incredible job in hosting this gala event.   We greatly enjoyed meeting many of our old friends and making new friends, too.   It was a memorable fun-filled evening!
    Two hours before the dinner,  my son and I went to the Dover Museum to watch a documentary film on swimming legend Mercedes Gleitze.  It was a wonderful 45 minute movie of her prolific swim career.   It was a great honor to meet Mercedes' beautiful family.  I brought my favorite book on marathon swimming, "Wind, Waves, and Sunburn" for them to autograph.   I was unaware that I was to be the first recipient of the Mercedes Glietze Trophy presented later that evening.   Receiving the prestigious Mercedes Gleitze Trophy and O'Clee Trophy was the highlight of my swim career.  I raised these distinguished trophies in memory of my brothers Robbie and Johnny.  A special heartfelt thank you to the CSA, Mercedes' family, my family and friends, and Viking Princess boat crew.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mercedes Gleitze Trophy

After receiving the Mercedes Gleitze Trophy for Female Pioneer Swim ,  Mercedes’  12 year old  great-granddaughter (striking resemblance of Mercedes) along with her family congratulated me as the first recipient of this prestigious award.  It was an incredible and overwhelming moment meeting her family.   Receiving this award was the highlight of my swim career.  Many years ago I read about Mercedes Gleitze and her incredible legacy.  I greatly admired her determination and spirit in promoting marathon swimming.  A special thank you to the Channel Swimming Association and Mercedes Gleitze’s family.

English Channel Swimming Association Award

On Saturday, November 4th, 2017 my son Tom and I attended the CSA Annual Dinner and Presentation ceremony held in England.  The CSA function was held at the historic Town Hall in Dover.   It was a grand event with swimmers, crew, boat pilots, guests, and CSA administrators in attendance.   I was awarded the O’Clee Jubilee Trophy for Oldest Successful Swimmer.  Also, I was surprised with another award named the Mercedes Gleitze Trophy for Female Pioneer swim.  Mercedes’ daughter presented me with the award.  I was deeply humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award.  Mercedes was a legend in the marathon swim world.  She was the first person to swim the Strait of Gibraltar and first woman from Britain to swim the English Channel.  She left an incredible legacy of not only a prolific swim career but outstanding contributions in helping the homeless.  I had the great honor of meeting her daughter, son, grandson, and great-granddaughter.
I want to thank my son Tom for his encouraging words many years ago to swim the Peaks to Portland in memory of my brother Robbie.  I raised both trophies in recognition of my brother Robbie and Johnny.  Many thanks to my husband for his unending love and support.  Thank you to my daughter for her endless positive words. A special thank you to my former crew for always being very supportive.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


The World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) announced their nominees for Woman of the Year, Man of the Year,  Performance of the Year,  and Offering of the Year.  I am deeply humbled and honored to be nominated for “Woman of the Year” along with eleven amazing women.  Anyone can vote.  Please visit the attached link to vote.  If you have voted in prior years, you don’t need to register again....just type in your email address, password, and then vote.  If this is your first time voting, click on the link provided and simply register by typing your email address, creating a password and then vote.  Please read all nominations and vote today.  Voting will be held from November 1 to December 31, 2017.   The winner of each category will be announced on January 1, 2018.   Good luck to all nominees.http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2017/10/world-open-water-swimming-woman-of-year.html?m=1

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lake Ontario marathon swim.....Give it a try!

In my many years of open water swimming, I found swimming 32 miles across Lake Ontario as one of the most challenging swims in my career.    Most people would say, "It's only a lake! How difficult can it be!".     I can say,  "It was a beast of a swim!".   The day of my swim I experience many upwellings.  This phenomenon is caused by the north wind causing the lower depths of the bone chilling water of Lake Ontario to rise to the surface.   Yikes!   My first mile of swimming I experienced water temperature in the low sixties (very comfortable for me) and with one stroke I was suddenly swimming in chilly water of 49 to 51 degrees for a few hundred yards.   Then suddenly with one stroke I was back into water temperature of low sixties.  I have never experienced such drastic change in water temperature between 10 to 12 degrees of sudden variation.   At the halfway mark, I was swimming in water temp about 62 degrees and again suddenly entered water temperature of low fifties for about 20 minutes.   I wanted to stop and inform my crew of the sudden and extreme water temperature but I didn't want to slow my swim.   Throughout my 24 hour and 28 minute swim I experience several drastic changes in water temperature.   As I approached the Port of Toronto, water temperature dropped again (which I expected).    The currents from the Humber River were strong and I found them very challenging to swim across.  Also,  I encountered small juvenile lampreys attempting to wrap themselves around my feet in the first few hundred yards at the start of my swim near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada.  Also, about one hundred flying fish flew out of the water in several directions before the start of my swim.  It was an amazing sight to see.   If you are an experienced marathon swimmer,  I would highly recommend swimming Lake Ontario.....it's certainly an adventure of a lifetime.
  My boat pilot Christine Arsenault is an expert in guiding swimmers through these challenging waters.  Her 39 foot boat was equipped with GPS and all recommended safety equipment.      Christine was instrumental in my success.  She is a marathon swimmer, too.   She knows what to expect in all conditions.   She has a phenomenal crew that she brings with her, too.    Book early because this marathon swim is becoming more popular.  Her email address is carsenault@gmail.com
  Also,  it is necessary to apply with Solo Swims of Ontario.    Their organization is very organized.  The president of their association,  Marilyn Korzekwa, MD,  ensures all safety measures are met before a swim can take place.   Apply early due to the amount of paperwork that needs to be completed.....such as getting permission from the Toronto Port Authority.  It is mandatory on completion of the swim that Toronto Rescue unit assess a swimmer.  Also, I had to submit a copy of my EKG and physician physical assessment.   Again, Marilyn and her board members want to ensure that all safety guidelines have been met.   Their website is www.soloswims.com
    Also, Lake Ontario is part of the Still Water Eight challenge (marathon swim distance).   It consist of eight very challenging and unique lake swims throughout the world.   The other lakes included: Loch Ness in Scotland,  Lake Windermere in England,  Lake Tahoe in the USA,  Lake Taupo in New Zealand,  Lake Zurich in Switzerland, Lake Baikal in Russia, and Lake Titicaca in Peru.
Sounds like a great adventure worth trying.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Photo shoot at Pine Point Beach

Today photographer Christaan Felber of New York City came to Pine Point Beach to do a photo shoot for Credit Suisse for their client-based magazine "The Bulletin".   Christaan is a remarkable photographer.  He is credited with photos in Time Magazine,  the New Yorker,  Rolling Stone, and numerous large sporting companies.  It was a fun-filled afternoon being photographed while swimming.   Also, many thanks to "Swimsuits for All" for providing the most beautiful swimsuits.   I love their swimsuits....comfortable,  colorful, and high quality.  Beautiful day at Pine Point!!!!
Many thanks to my sister-in-law Jean Murdoch-Gallant for being a tremendous help today.
Photo credit: Jean Murdoch-Gallant

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Lake Ontario swim

    Lake Ontario is one of the most challenging swims I have completed in my extensive swim career.  I wanted to swim the Marilyn Bell route from a small beach called Niagara-on-the-Lake which is located across the Niagara River from Youngstown, New York to the finish line of Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto, Canada.   It's a 32 mile swim.  I expected that my swim would take between 24 and 26 hours to complete.
      Marilyn Bell is a legend in the marathon swim world.  She was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario in the early 1950's.   I was truly humbled and honored when Marilyn called me to wish me success in my solo crossing.  She is now 79 years old.
     The rules of the Solo Swim of Ontario Association is similar to other swim organization....no wetsuits allowed.  Only a regulation swimsuit, goggles and swim cap.  No neoprene allowed. swimmer cannot be touched.  Swimmer cannot touch boat or risk being disqualified.
     Because it is a lake swim, many people wrongly believe that it's an easier swim.   It is not an easy swim.  It's a beast of a swim.  During my first day in Canada, I saw the fury of Lake Ontario.  It had large waves slamming the coastline in Hamilton.   It looked as ferocious as any ocean storm.  Weather predictions reported that Tuesday into Wednesday would be good conditions of southerly winds.   My boat captain Christine Arsenault  made the decision that my swim would take place Tuesday evening after 9pm.   I was accompanied by my sister-in-law Jean Gallant as my crew and Solo Swim of Ontario's president Marilyn Korzekwa.  Jean wrote my brother Robbie and Johnny's name on my arms as a tribute to them.    My boat pilot had a 40 foot boat and two zodiac boats.  She had nine crew members and an official Colleen Shields from the Solo Swims of Ontario to monitor my swim.   A few hours before my swim started, I swallowed an internal core thermometer.  The swim officials would monitor my core temperature during my swim (through out my swim my internal body temp never dropped significantly).   As we approached Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario in the small zodiac boat, nearly 100 small flying fish flew out of the water in all directions.    It was an amazing sight to see.   I walked onto the beach, raised my hand to signal the start of my swim.   As I walked into the water,  I was immediately pleased with the water temperature of around 64 degrees.  I started swimming and experienced turbulence at a small sandbar.  This water pattern was caused by the mighty Niagara River merging into Lake Ontario.  I was pleased to feel the current pushing me a short distance in comfortable water temperature.  Suddenly, I felt a creature trying to wrap itself around my feet.   It felt like a small snake about a foot length.  I kicked it off and continued swimming.  A few minutes later I felt a few of them trying to attached themselves to my feet.  I decided to kick as hard as I could and sprinted for the next ten minutes and I never felt them again.  Phew!  One of the crew thought they were juvenile lampreys.  
  The next hour of swimming I experienced calm conditions and water temperatures ranging in the low 60's.   Suddenly, I swam into a large very cold water area of about 500 yards in length.  Water temp felt like 50.   I knew from my research of Lake Ontario that it is common to see drastic changes in water temperature with variations of 12 degrees.  As I departed that frigid area, I swam into water temperature of 60 degrees and it felt great.   All through my swim, I experienced patches of very cold water around 50 to 54 degrees.  At the halfway mark,  water temperatures dropped .  I was starting to experience hypothermia.  My fingers began to cramp and I develop a clinched fist called "claw hand" from cold water exposure.   I alerted my crew of my condition.  Jean knew the  issues dealing with hypothermia.    Then suddenly I swam into water that averaged 64 degrees for a few miles.  My hypothermia resolved.  I continued swimming stroke after stroke.  As we came within 3 miles of the finish line, water temperature suddenly dropped.   I started to experience hypothermia, again.   Winds were starting to pick up and they were causing havoc with currents near the Port of Toronto.    I had very serious concerns that I would not reach the finish line.    My boat pilot attempted to guide me to several different location near the Marilyn Bell Park.   The currents were extremely difficult to cross. My boat pilot assured me that I would reach the finish line but we needed to swim a few more miles to get to a better location to fight the currents.  I felt like I was swimming a zig-zag pattern in the last mile.   Finally we were making progress into the Marilyn Bell Park.  I touched the infamous wall and was greeted by a cheering crowd of Canadians.  My time was 24 hours and 28 minutes.  Setting a world record for oldest person to swim solo across Lake Ontario at the age of 66 years and 209 days old.   As  I climbed the ladder, I was greeted by rescue personnel. It was planned before my swim that a rescue unit would assess my condition after the completion of my swim.  They assessed me and I was medically cleared to leave. Yahoo!!!!
   My successful swim of Lake Ontario was made possible by my boat pilot Christine Arsenault (and her crew),  and my crew member Jean Gallant who never took a break in my 24 hours swim (she is absolutely amazing) Jean is an incredible crew member who gives 100% attention to every detail.   And Solo Swims of Ontario president Marilyn Korzekwa who never gave up on me.  She encouraged me during some very challenging moments and encouraged me to hang in there.  I owe my success to her, too.  I would like to thank swim official Colleen Shields for her encouragement and support.  She holds the record for the oldest Canadian to swim Lake Ontario.
   I want to thank my stay at home crew:  my husband Jim, children Sarah and Tom, and grandchildren for their unending love and support.
  I plan to continue with marathon swimming because I love it.   I'm in the planning stages of my next few swims.  As soon as I receive confirmation, I will post my next swim adventure.   Thank you for your interest in my swims.

Monday, August 28, 2017

It's a go!

I will start my Lake Ontario swim at 9pm (Eastern time zone) Tuesday, August 29th.  My tracker will be activated shortly before my swim starts.   See prior post for link.   I expect my swim to take 24+ hours.  Many thanks to my crew member Jean Gallant for her support.  Also, many thanks for my at home crew (Jim, Sarah, Tom, and grandchildren),  for their never ending love and encouragement.  A special thank you to Marilyn Korzekwa for her guidance and hospitality.    Lake Ontario will be a very challenging swim.  Keeping my fingers crossed for calm conditions.  Regardless of the outcome, I will post an update of my swim within 72 hours. Thank you.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spot Tracker link for Lake Ontario swim

On Monday, August 28 my crew and I will be arriving in Canada for my solo crossing of Lake Ontario.   My Spot Tracker will be activated 30 minutes prior to the start of my swim.   The tracker will be on the boat at all times.  The tracker will update every 10 minutes in real time.  Hopefully my swim will start on Tuesday around 6pm (Eastern Time Zone) depending on weather conditions.  As soon as I receive further information from my boat pilot,  I will post an update.
This is the link to my Spot Tracker http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0e2EOxTW5KVGIe0dUSyXedqqHXE1YzXVr

Monday, August 7, 2017

Weather Channel: #1 Extreme Adventure: Oceans Seven

Last evening the Weather Channel had a great program on the Top Ten Extreme Adventures.  Oceans Seven was ranked as #1.     My good friend Darren Miller (USA) was featured in this incredible segment of extreme adventures .  Darren is an outstanding ambassador of marathon swimming.  Many thanks to Steven Munatones for presenting the concept of the Oceans Seven to the marathon swim community.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lake Ontario swim

    Lake Ontario here I come!    My next marathon swim adventure will take place at the end of this month.   I will attempt to swim the 32 mile traditional course of Lake Ontario also known as the Marilyn Bell route. The swim will start at Niagara-on-the-Lake located across the Niagara River from Youngstown, New York and finish in Toronto, Canada near the Marilyn Bell Park.  This route was named after swim icon Marilyn Bell who became the first person in history to swim across Lake Ontario at the age of 16.  She instantly became one of the most highly celebrated swimmers in Canadian history.   Her story of her determination and grit is incredible.   I wanted to share her inspirational story with my young grandchildren  so I purchased the DVD "Heart, The Marilyn Bell Story".  We watched it together......we loved it!
         I will be following the rules of the Canadian swim organization called Solo Swims of Ontario. Their rules are similar to other marathon swim organizations.......swimmer cannot be touched,  swimmer cannot touch boat, start on land and finish on land.  I am grateful to Marilyn Korzekwa,  renowned marathon swimmer and president of the SSO, for extending her gracious hospitality in  planning and welcoming my crew and I.   My boat pilot is Christine Arsenault. She is recognized for her piloting skills.   Christine will have a 39 foot boat fully equipped with GPS and radio contact.   I will be accompanied by a smaller zodiac boat.  One of my crew members will be on the Zodiac to monitor my swim and throw me liquid carbohydrates in a water bottle attached to a line.   The larger boat will be a few hundred yards ahead to assess for currents and conditions.   The main boat and zodiac boat will have radio contact at all times.   SSO is a very well run swim organization and safety is their number one concern.  At the end of my swim,  I will be assessed by a medical crew (rescue unit).  Hopefully, I will be in good condition.   If not, then ER visit would be recommended.  Again, safety of swimmer is very important to this swim organization........it's very much appreciated.
       This swim will be very challenging due to it's unpredictable wind and currents.  Water temperature will be between 50 and 64 degrees.   Lake Ontario is known to have a drastic drop in water temperatures by 12 degrees within a two hour span.  I will swallow an internal thermometer so my internal body temperature will be closely monitored by crew on board.
    Many years ago swimmers had concerns about lampreys (looks like an eel) attacking their arms and legs.   Lampreys have a snake like body with a "sucker" mouth.   Years ago, there were stories about swimmers having to pry these little suckers from their extremities.  Yikes!!!!!     Thankfully, these pesky little creatures no longer bother swimmers.        
   I will have a spot tracker that will be activated about 30 minutes prior to start of swim.  I will post the link to the tracker on Sunday, August 27.  I expect that it will take me about 26 hours to swim 32 miles depending on conditions.    My slot starts on Tuesday, August 29.  I will have a four day slot.     The tracker will be on the boat.  My crew at home will not be posting any updates on my blog.   After the completion of my swim, regardless of the outcome,  I will post an update within 24 hours.
Looking forward to this swim......it will be another great adventure.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017


During my Molokai channel swim a pod of pilot whales came within two feet of me.  Mike Scott was the drone videographer who captured this amazing video.    My crew of David, Bill, and Jean Gallant are in the boat and witnessed these magnificent whales.    Best viewed on full screen computer.  Congratulations to Mike Scott of Oahu for capturing this rare video.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Tribute to Johnny Gallant

The morning of my English Channel swim I had my son Tom write the names "Robbie and Johnny" on my upper arms.   As many of you know, I started open water swimming after my brother Robbie died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 34.  Robbie loved all types of sports especially swimming.  He won the Peaks to Portland (2.4 mile ocean swim) twice.  My son encouraged me to swim the Peaks to Portland as a tribute to Robbie.  Little did I know that I would fall in love with the sport of open water swimming.
     I've had many people ask me about my brother Johnny.   I want to pay tribute to him, too.  Johnny died at a very young age of 17.   He was accidentally electrocuted during a physics lab class at Westbrook High School many years ago.  His passing was a tremendous loss to our family.  He was such a wonderful and caring brother.  He was an all-around proud American boy.  He was a newspaper carrier, altar boy, and a friend to all.    He had a great sense of humor.   Johnny loved sports, too.  His favorite sport was track and field.  In high school he excelled in track and won numerous track events in his very short life.
   During my English Channel swim, I thought of Johnny and Robbie.   As I slowly walked up the beach to the finish line in France, I thought of them.   Because Robbie was the swimmer of the two, I said, "this is for you Robbie".    Johnny would have been so proud of my accomplishment, too.  And,  he probably would have jokingly said "why didn't you run up the beach to the finish line."
Johnny this swim was for you, too.  Love to both!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

2017 English Channel Swim update

Last year when I attempted to swim the 21 mile English Channel,  I developed severe motion sickness and I made the decision to stop my swim.   I was greatly disappointed but not defeated.   I asked my boat pilot Reg Brickell if he had any cancellations for 2016........I wanted to try another solo crossing of the English Channel.  He was fully booked because of his reputation as an honest and trustworthy boat pilot and he could not accommodate my request.  The Brickell brothers want all swimmers  to succeed with their goal of swimming to France no matter how long it takes.    So last fall I booked my Molokai channel swim in Hawaii.   After giving my deposit for my May swim of Molokai channel, I received an email from Reg stating that he had a cancellation for June.  Knowing that I have a very fast recovery time after a marathon swim, I decided to swim the English Channel just four weeks after my Molokai swim.
 I had a concern about the acclimation to cold water since I was acclimating to warmth for a few month prior to Molokai.    I was monitoring daily water temperatures from the Sandettie Buoy in the English Channel that was updated every hour online.   The readings consistently read 57 to 61 degrees.   I was very pleased with that recorded water temp.  On arrival to Dover,  I found the water temp at high tide averaging about 54.   Huge difference!  I had a concern about my upcoming swim.  My son Tom was my only crew.  He did an amazing job! He stood on the boat for 18 hours monitoring my swim.   I never saw him take a break.
        Yesterday when I started my swim from Samphire Hoe, England,  I  noticed immediately that the water temp was a cool 54 degrees.   About a mile into my swim,  I felt chilled and had a concern about the water temp.  Sometimes the water temp would reach 57.  I kept telling myself that the closer I get to France the water temperature would rise.  Wrong!!!!!!  Occasionally I would feel warm pockets of warmer water around 60 degrees.  But than an oil tanker would go by and would propel much colder water to the surface.  Yikes!
    By the second hour,  I started to have doubts about my swim.  I started to have frequent episodes of vomiting.......none of the prescribed medications worked.   I was feeling like this was "Deja Vu" from my failed attempt in 2016.   My boat pilot voiced his rightful concern about my vomiting.
    By the 6th hour,  the pockets of warmer water were infrequent.  I kept telling myself that water temp would improve because the sun was rising and I would feel the gentle warmth of the sun.  It did improve slightly but I was still cold.
    By the 12th hour, I could see France.    My doubts went away.   I started thinking of swimmers who inspired me to never give up......Jackie Cobell who set a world record for the longest time of 28 hours to swim the channel.   I thought of swimming legend Sal Minty-Gravett and her epic world record of a two way crossing of the English Channel.   I didn't want to quit even though I was very uncomfortable from the cold water.
    By the 14th hour, I knew I was experiencing mild dehydration because I could only tolerate sips of fluids.   As I continued my swim,  I noticed a very large dorsal fin piercing the water about 6 feet behind me.  I said to myself, "Is that a shark?"   I knew that sometimes marathon swimmers may experience hallucinations during a long swim.   "I said to myself, "Pat, you are hallucinating!"  So I continued swimming.    After my swim, my son Tom said, "Did you see that large dorsal fin behind you?  I thought it was a shark but it was a large ocean sunfish confirmed by the CSA Official."  Shortly after the dorsal fin encounter, I was greeted by a medium size jellyfish.  The sting was horrible. I had to stop my swim momentarily to remove the tentacle from my face.  My upper lip had a long tentacle sticking to it.  Ouch!  Tom saw me rapidly trying to remove the jellyfish tentacles off my face.  I jokingly said, "that's my welcome to France".  We both laughed.
  The last mile of my swim took nearly three hours to complete due to strong currents.  I was being swept along the coastline for a beautiful scenic swim.  I was finally able to reach the shore line and walk up the beach near the white cliffs at Cap Blanc.   It was a fantastic feeling to complete my goal of setting a world record for oldest woman to successfully swim the English Channel at the age of 66 years and 135 days old.
   The previous record holder is my Facebook friend Sue Oldham from Australia.  She set the oldest woman record for the English Channel in 2010 at age 64 years and 258 days.  Out of respect for Sue, I contacted her the day before my swim to let her know of my intention.   She was amazing!  She wished me success and a great swim.   During my swim, she contacted my daughter to relay a message to my son on board.  My son yelled to me during my 15th hour and said, Sue Oldman from Australia contacted Sarah and wants you to pull hard to get through those currents.  I greatly appreciate her dedication to the sport of marathon swimming.   She is planning to swim the English Channel at the end of this summer.  I wish her much success in breaking my record.   After all, records are meant to be broken.
    I want to thank my son Tom for his amazing work as crew.  He paid attention to every detail to help me become successful in reaching France.   A special thank you to my daughter Sarah who posted updates on Facebook.....she was amazing!  I want to thank my husband Jim who has always encouraged me to reach for my dreams.    Also,  I want to thank my extended family and friends for their encouraging words.   Thank you to my former co-workers.....they are an awesome hard working group who sent me heartfelt words of support.  I want to thank my boat pilots Reg and Ray Brickell for their expertise.   And lastly,  I want to thank all my Facebook friends who sent words of congratulations.    
  My last marathon swim to complete the Oceans Seven will be Cook Strait in New Zealand in 2019.  Due to popularity of this swim, there is a long waiting list.   But in the meantime, I will continue marathon swimming in other locations.   Thanks again.

Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 English Channel swim....IT"S A GO!

I will attempt a solo crossing of the English Channel on Saturday morning June 17 at approximately 5  A.M. (England time).    England is 5 hours ahead of Eastern time zone.   For those back home in Maine,  my swim will start around midnight Friday night (Eastern Time Zone).   I will be swimming under the rules of the English Channel Swimming Association.   A channel official will be on board to monitor my swim.   My son Tom is my crew.  Many of you are aware that it was my son Tom who encouraged me nearly 20 years ago to try my very first open water swim in memory of my 34 year old brother Robbie who died suddenly of a heart attack.   Tom inspired me with his words, "Ma, you can do it, if you try."   Twenty years ago I considered myself a spectator mom.   I never imagined that I would fall in love with the sport of open water swimming.   My swim will be in memory of my brother Robbie and Johnny (who died at the age of 17 in a tragic school accident).
    Reg and Ray Brickell will be piloting the Viking Princess.  They will have a tracker activated the moment my swim commences.   Please click on the link below.  Once you have click on the link,  click the highlighted words  "view track".   You will be able to view the path of my swim.   Most channel swimmers will swim in an inverted "S" pattern due to strong currents.   Also, you may visit the English Channel Association website and click on "Live Tracking" and click on the Viking Princess.  Since a tracker is provided,   my daughter Sarah will not be posting updates.    Regardless of the outcome of my swim,  I will update my blog within 24 hours of completion of my swim.
      My swim will start from Shakespeare's Beach in England and I will swim 21 miles across the channel to France.   On Saturday my age will be 66 years and 135 days old.  My friend Sue Oldham of Australia is the current record holder for oldest woman.   She was 64 years and 258 days old when she set the record in 2010.   She will attempt to swim the channel again later this summer.  I wish her much success.   I firmly believe that it's important for the younger generation to know that marathon swimming can be a lifelong sport.     It's an adventure of a lifetime.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Swimming between Oahu and Molokai in Hawaii was an adventure of a lifetime.  It was not an easy swim.  I found that Molokai Channel was my most difficult swim of the Ocean's Seven Challenge.  Molokai was my 6th swim of the challenge.  The difficulty was not the distance of 26 miles but the currents.   They are strong and powerful.  Many times I felt like I was swimming in place and I was.   I did have a few encounters with marine life.  I was stung at least ten times by jellyfish.  These jellyfish left painful red marks on my skin and welts.  During the 8th hour I was bumped in my leg.  I told the kayaker and he notified the main boat.  They quickly scanned the water looking for a shark.  But none was found, they presumed it was a dolphin.  After that, I stayed within a foot of the Shark Shield (electronic device to deter sharks).    A pod of pilot whales decided to visit.  My kayaker Michael Scott  was able to  take video with his drone of them and said they were about two feet from my feet.   He was able to capture a video of them spouting rainbows from their blowhole.   Incredible footage!!  ( As soon as I receive his footage, I will post it. ).  The after effects from a marathon swim varies but typically includes a very sore tongue due to prolong salt water exposure.  My tongue is very painful and has a thick white coating.  It was difficult to speak in the first few hours due to swelling.  At the end of my marathon swim, I crawled on my hands and knees onto the beach.  It's very common to have "sea legs" causing unsteadyness. I didn't want to stand immediately and then fall and break something.  So I sat on the beach for a couple of minutes.  When I stood, I was expectedly unsteady.   My unsteady gait lasted for a few hours after my swim.  Again, it is common for many marathon swimmer to have temporary effects from a long distance ocean swim.  My skin exposure to the sun took its toll....I got a very bad sunburn.  I have yet to find a sun screen product that last for several hours while swimming.  Due to several jellyfish stings, I have several red marks and open areas on my skin. My worse sting was on my lips which caused painful swelling.  I am currently treating all wounds....some with an antibiotic ointment others with special wound bandages.  I'm treating my bad sunburn with aloe.  And  yes , it was worth the pain to have a successful swim.  The pain will last only a couple of days but the joy of a successful swim will last a lifetime.   Now to get back to my Molokai swim adventure.  During my eighth hour of swimming, I felt like throwing in the towel and quitting my swim.  I was getting sick and tired of being stung by jellyfish.  Also I was having problems with motion sickness causing several episodes of vomiting.   During these episodes of vomiting, my left leg was starting to have legs spasms.  I turned to my young kayaker and mentioned that I was thinking of quitting.  He encouraged me to continue.  He said, "you will feel so much better when the sun comes up."   He was right. I felt stronger at daybreak.
   I reached the finish line of Sandy Beach, Oahu in a time of 23 hours and 54 minutes. I became the 52nd person in their history to successfully swim across the channel and set a world record for the oldest woman.  Age 66 years 107 days old.
My crew consisted of my brother David and sister-in-law Jeannie, my brother Bill and sister-in-law Jean.   They did an incredible job.  Crewing is a very exhausting and difficult job.  I can't thank them enough.
My boat Pilot Mike Twigg-Smith was amazing.  He was able to find the correct course through the very strong currents.  My tracker was on his boat because it's not waterproof.  He would speed ahead about 400 yards and assess currents.  Then he would steer his boat back toward me.  That is why some people thought I was swimming fast and was puzzled that I was backtracking.  I had three kayakers taking two hour stints to direct me through the currents.  I would highly recommend him as a pilot for any future channel swimmers
   The Ka'iwi Channel Association swim coordinator Steve Haumschild did a fantastic job organizing all the logistics.  I would highly recommend his organization, too.
 My stay-at-home crew were amazing, too.   My daughter Sarah and son Tom posted on Facebook updates of my progress.   I can't thank them enough.   Also, my husband Jim has been a tremendous support.
   Also I want to thank Matt Goldstein and Paul Barrieau who greeted me at the finish line.  They were a tremendous help.
  I would like to thank everyone who sent emails, text messages, and phone calls.  Your heartfelt comments were greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Molokai Channel Swim....It's a go!

This evening my crew and I met with my boat pilot Michael Twigg-Smith and Kaiwi Channel coordinator Steve Haumschild.   Mike made the decision to start my swim attempt of Molokai Channel on Friday, May 19 at 5p.m. (Hawaii time zone).  In Maine the time will be 11pm Friday night (Eastern Time Zone).   Steve is coordinating all the logistics of transporting us to Molokai Island.   My swim will start from Molokai Island and I will swim across the channel to Oahu.  The distance is approximately 28 miles.  I will have a spot tracker activated the moment my swim starts.  Click on the link below to follow my swim.   The tracker will update my progess every 10 minutes.  Regardless of the outcome of my swim,  I will write a follow-up swim report  within 24 hours.  This will be my 6th swim of the Ocean Seven Challenge.  My crew is very well prepared for the challenges that I will be facing.  I can't thank them enough for taking the time out of their busy schedule to come and crew for me.    Also, I would like to thank my husband Jim and children Sarah and Tom for their ongoing love and support of my marathon swim adventures. http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0czIGEGQx5pYenRzzLvOnJqSr7iYxDhY1

Monday, May 8, 2017

Update on Molokai swim

On Tuesday, May 16  my crew and I will be meeting with my boat pilot to discuss target swim date.   I have a two week slot.   So far,  increase winds are in the forecast for the 17th and 18th and a swim is doubtful for those days.    I will update my blog after the meeting on the 16th and I will post a link to the tracker next week.  I would like to thank my brothers and sister-in-laws David and Jeannie Gallant and Bill and Jean Gallant for taking two weeks off from their busy schedule to crew for me.   And, many thanks to my stay-at-home crew, husband Jim and children Sarah and Tom for their words of encouragement and support.   It's greatly appreciated.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Peak training for Molokai

My training for my upcoming Molokai swim in May is going very well.   I'm swimming a minimum of five days a week, weight training three days per week, and cross training four days per week.  I am very fortunate to have an experienced crew...David and Jeannie Gallant, and Bill and Jean Gallant.   We will review all logistics of my swim including the use of a Shark Shield.   It will be the very first time that I will have a Shark Shield attached to a kayak  during an Oceans Seven swim.   Due to aggressive sharks in Hawaii,  my boat pilot requires his swimmers to have two Shark Shields.   This device will emit a harmless electronic field that will be sensitive to shark receptors.   Because the battery life lasts only 5-6 hours, I will have a spare Shark Shield charging on the boat.  I expect my swim to take 18+ hours to complete.   After five hours, a recharged Shark Shield will be exchanged on the kayak.  It will be my crew's responsibility to make sure that the battery has been turned on and working properly.  My boat pilot will be navigating a couple of hundred feet ahead of the kayak.   I will swim along side the kayak to stay within the range of the electronic field.  My swim will start late in the day from Molokai Island and I will swim into the night.  My boat pilot wants a daytime finish on Oahu due to safety reasons (boat has to navigate near rocks).    If we encounter an aggressive shark,  my swim will stop and I will be removed from the water.   Safety is always the number one priority.   At this point,  my biggest concern is motion sickness during my Molokai swim.   I have chronic issues with nausea and vomiting during marathon swims.   I will be wearing a scopolomine patch to help reduce seasickness.  Also, I will be taking an anti-nausea pill every six hours to help settle my stomach.  I am looking forward to this 28 mile swim.......it will be another wonderful adventure.