2017 English Channel swim

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.

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