So Melanie is going to be our first LOST Swimmer to swim Lake O this summer! It should be really exciting. She will also be the first to cross via the LOST Route… which is from Port Dalhousie to the very beach were we swim from… how cool is that! The other cool thing about this marathon swim is that it will be exactly a marathon! 42.2 km or 26.2 miles! In open water swimming the question “how long is this marathon?” isn’t a stupid question, like it is in running. In running it is always 42.2 km / 26.2 miles… however, in open water swimming, a marathon swim is anything over 10 km. The English Channel and the Catalina Channels are both 34 km, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim is 47 km (but tide assisted), Tampa Bay Marathon Swim is 38.4 km… and one of the longest swims is the one that Aussie, Penny Palfrey, will be trying this summer… swimming from one Cayman Island to the other… a distance of 128 km! This swim could break two of Vicki Keith’s world records: longest swim (time) 63 hours, 40 minutes… and longest swim (distance) 94 km.
So you see in the extreme sport of marathon swimming, doing a Lake O Crossing is a big deal by any measure!
There is some more info about Mel below… and if you are feeling generous, I know she’d really appreciate some help on fundraising.
Information about Melanie Price:
Melanie started swimming competitively for the Hamilton Aquatic Club (HAC) when she was 13 and now 25 years later and a mother of 2, she continues to compete in the pool for the Burlington Masters Swim Club (BMSC).
At a university training camp in 1994, Melanie was introduced to open water racing, in the Florida Ocean Mile; and in 1995, she was part of a swimming relay race across Lake Ontario raising money for charity. It was also around this time she began participating in triathlons.
In 1999, Melanie had her 1st daughter, who is now also a competitive swimmer; and after some time off, Melanie eventually found her way back to competing in the pool and in triathlon. In December 2007, she had her 2nd daughter, but this time swam through most of the pregnancy and was back racing as soon as possible; winning the Subaru sprint triathlon series in her age group less than a year later. Her husband learned to swim in 2008 so that they could do their 1st Ironman triathlon together (Ironman Louisville Kentucky in 2009). With their youngest also showing a pure love for the water, they seem to have become a very busy family of fish.
Melanie began swimming in Lake Ontario with the Lake Ontario Swim Team (LOST) when she was training for her 1st Ironman. The experience with the LOST group inspired her to try some more open water events, including the annual 3.8k LOST race and a 2 mile swim around Governors Island in New York City. Melanie fell in love with Lake Ontario; and the idea for her to swim across the Lake was born.
Melanie’s competitive record speaks for itself, yet she continues to appreciate that she is able to participate in the many events she loves; and gives back to the swim community in various ways over the years, including volunteering as: treasurer for BMSC from 2005 to 2007; assistant coach with HAC from 2010 to present; registrar for LOST from 2010 to present; and crew member for Miguel Vadillo’s 2010 Lake Ontario swim crossing. As well, Melanie tries to encourage and support others to lead a healthy and active life.
Water has provided Melanie with many of her friends and been behind many of her adventures and it seemed only fitting that her attempt to swim across Lake Ontario is to help raise money for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW), a registered charity working to restore and maintain the ability to swim, drink and fish in Lake Ontario. Melanie hopes to increase awareness of the need to protect Lake Ontario’s natural resources and encourage everyone to “Help put the Great back into the Lake” so we can all benefit and appreciate the Great Lake for years to come! Charitable donations are greatly appreciated and can be made to LOW through Melanie’s giving page at http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=11261
Information about Lake Ontario Swim Crossings:
Marilyn Bell was the first to swim across Lake Ontario; doing so, in 1954 from Youngstown, New York to Toronto. Her arrival point is now named Marilyn Bell Park after her accomplishment. To date, there have been less than 50 swimmers to successfully complete an “official” (40k or more) crossing. Solo Swims of Ontario (SSO) is the governing body overseeing and sanctioning individuals participating in long distance solo swims in Ontario. To ensure the swim is conducted safely, they set strict safety guidelines, including boat requirements, minimum acceptable weather standards and a pre-trial swim. (Complete regulations can be read at http://www.soloswims.com/SSORI.pdf)
The swimmer wears a traditional bathing-suit (no sleeves or shorts), no wetsuit but is allowed to apply grease to the body before the swim. During the swim, the swimmer is not allowed to touch any boats or people. Pacers are allowed after 5 hours have elapsed, but no pacing is allowed at night. The swimmer is not allowed to draft behind another swimmer or boat.
Melanie has decided to take a “new” route from Port Dalhousie to Oakville, which is 42.2 kilometers (coincidentally the same distance as a “marathon” in running). Melanie estimates it will take 15 to 21 hours to complete. The change from the traditional Marilyn Bell Park is due to Melanie’s connection to Lake Ontario in Oakville, as this is where the Lake Ontario Swim Team (LOST) practices from and hence where she was inspired to take this journey. Oakville has a home team advantage to it for Melanie. She will love looking up and seeing the old familiar lighthouse and hopefully lots of team-mates and friends. With LOST fostering the growth of open water swimming in the Lake, maybe this route will become a new tradition.