It wasn’t exactly the end that the swimmers wanted. However, it was still a record-setting lake crossing, which the five ladies in the relay team were proud of. Four and a half days ago, the five of them begun an unprecedented attempt to swim across Lake Ontario lengthwise from Kingston to Burlington. Unfortunately, the swimmers were forced to end early in Whitby, which fell approximately 60 kilometres shy of their goal.
“We did 242 kilometres, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s flippin’ awesome,” stated Nicole Mallette. Their decision to bring an end to the Because Girls Can swim came after a gruelling 80 hours in the lake. It was also soon after 18-year-old Mona Sharari, the youngest member in the team, was pulled from the water and taken to shore as she was feeling unwell. Mona did rejoin the team for the last few hours of the swim after she felt better.
The decision to end the relay was an extremely difficult one in which all of them shed tears. They based their decision on the water condition being too cold and unsafe to continue swimming in for another two more days. “Mother Nature was not on our side. Lake Ontario threw everything she had at us. We got some really horrendous weather. Nothing ever seemed to work out for us. It was either really warm water and ridiculous waves or it was really calm and absolutely freezing,” described 23-year-old Samantha Whiteside.
“It’s a little bit discouraging that we didn’t get to Burlington, but you can’t win against Mother Nature,” said 61-year-old Colleen Shields, who currently holds the record for the oldest female to complete a traditional 52-kilometre Lake Ontario crossing. All the members of the team, ranging from 18 to 61 years old, are all from southern Ontario and experienced long-distance swimmers. Four of them have crossed Lake Ontario the traditional way, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto. As for Mona Sharari, she has crossed the English channel before this. All of them expected this to be a much easier swim as compared to their own solo swim as they will be able to share the workload.
However, it proved to be wrong. “Our coaches had told us numerous times that if this had been a solo swim they would have called it (off) within the first two hours,” said Samantha. For the rest of the story, do check it out here.
At Happy Fish Swim School, we have a variety of swimming lessons, catering to beginners all the way to advanced students. Aside from that, we also have a Lifesaving Course for those who are interested to further their skills.