On 6th August 2011, at age 17 years and 7 days, Rebekah completed her crossing of Lake Ontario, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Marilyn Bell Park in a time of 15 hours 33 minutes 15 seconds to become the third fastest woman, at that time, on this course. Her swim had started the previous day at 8:35 pm.
* Swim Master: Colleen Shields
* Coach: Brian Lindsay
* Boat 1: Hayak with owner Henk Borsboom
* Boat 2: Quetzal with owner David Abrahams
* Boat 3: Sea Monk, 22' Inflatable, with owner Thomas Dobokay.
* Pacers: Mikela Padvaiskas (14); Breanna Saukas (15); Mona Sharari (16)
* Boat Operators: John Boscariol; Tommie Sue Abrahams; brian Brennan; Michael and Robert McTeague
* Crew Members: Melanie Boscariol; Charles Abrahams; Brittany McTeague; Lauren Jawno;Isabella Gallo
Rebekah's preparation had involved training swims in Lakes Simcoe, Wilcox and Ontario.
While being aware of the potential for forecasted strong easterly winds, Rebekah was still keen to go. So her team from the Markham Aquatic Club were prepared that the swim could be called off if the weather deteriorated. They prepared rapidly for the Start from Niagara-on-the-Lake that got underway at 8:35 pm with wave conditions of 2-3'.
After 4 hours, the team had encountered, and accommodated, a number of problems with the small inflatables but, fortunately, the winds had died down to reduce waves to 0.5' within the first 3 hours. During the early morning hours of 1:40 am through to daylight the easterly winds again created waves of 1-2' before easing of to about 0.5' for the rest of the swim..
Her first Pacer was allowed to enter the water at daylight, 6:00 am, and her 3 experienced and skilled Pacers rotated every 30 minutes.
Rebekah was averaging about 4 km/k for the first 12 hours, until she encountered an adverse current around Toronto Island that slowed her to 1.2 km/h.
The second sailboat contacted the organizers of a local sailing race that was about to start and the organizers delayed the start until Rebekah was clear of their course.
After the first hour, Rebekah took Rapid feeds evry 30 minutes, with her intake being monitored and controlled by her accompanying Nutritionist. This nutrition consisted of a mix of pure carbohydrates with tea and lemon, fruit drinks and soup accompanied, as warranted with crackers, some watermelon and water.
* Motivated by her younger sister's surgery for a hole-in-the-heart, Rebekah used her swim to generate funds for the Cardiac Care Unit at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
* It was so successful that it raised over $40k, with $10k being donated by Markhan Mayor Frank Scarpitti. The total donation was reported as the largest individual donation for that year.
* Rebekah's 2011 swim and its associated fund raising was recognized by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) as she was nominated for "Performance of The Year" for that year.
* Mona Sharari (18)
* Rebekah Boscariol (18)
* Samantha Whiteside (23)
* Nicole Mallette-Harrison (48)
* Colleen Shields (61)
Ranging in age from 18 to 61, these 5 ladies planned to swim a 305 km length of Lake Ontario from east-to-west,
starting in Kingston, Ontario and finishing in Burlington, Ontario - swimming against the natural flow of the lake.
* The plan was to complete 2-hour legs for the anticipated 5 days to complete the course; however, it is rare to get a perfect 5-day "Weather Window" on Lake Ontario.
* In the days before the swim, it became apparent that it was going to be a COLD swim. Those pre-event, training, swims in Lake Ontario encountered water temperatures as low as 10C.
* However, the swim started as planned at 10:00 am on Tuesday 23 July 2013, with anticipated bad weather and Cold water.
* The swim was completed 4 days later, on Saturday 27 July, just before 1:30 pm, at the Kiwanis Heydenshore Park in Whitby, Ontario.
* The Relay had completed a distance of 242 km in approximately 99.5 hours !
* The swim raised over $2,000 and lots of attention for their targeted charity "Because Girls Can" that works to end gender inequality, promote girls' rights, and lift millions of girls and their associates out of poverty.
The shortening of their proposed route is a reflection of the tremendous challenges/difficulties they must have encountered in swimming under such cool conditions, and can possibly be
appreciated by looking at the amazing, past marathon-swimming accomplishments of 5 team members.
* Colleen (1990), Nicole (1997), Samantha (2006), and Rebekah (2011) had all completed previous 52 km crossings of Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto, with Samantha, Rebekah, and Nicole holding the second and third and seventh fastest women's times for that course out of 34 crossings by ladies at that time.
* As of 2022, there had been 41 registered crossings on that traditional course of Lake Ontario by ladies.
* And Mona Sharari, the fifth member of the team, was similarly qualified with her 13 hours and 8 minutes crossing of the English Channel on 8 September 2012 that also earned her the Channel Swimming Association's award as the Youngest Swimmer that year.
* A CBC Interview from 2013 provides a perfect insight into the characters and mindsets of these 5 strong-willed ladies.
Rebekah completed a Trial Swim and progressed to a Lake Ontario challenge on 22 August 2014, with a well-qualified team and highly-experienced navigational facilities and crew, that included JohnKerr with his boats Exhale, the Grimsby Rescue Unit, and Thomas Dobokay .
* Swim Master: Colleen Shields
* Coach: Lisa Anderson.
* Boat 1: Exhale, owner John & Joanne Kerr.
. . . 37' Sailing Catamaran, twin 28 HP inboard diesels, 8 knots.
. . . 10' RIB, 15 HP, 20 knots.
* Boat 2: Sea Monk, 22' Inflatable, with owner Thomas Dobokay.
* Boat 3: GAMRU, Grimsby Auxilary Rescue Unit
. . . 22' RIB, twin 90 HP.
* Pacers: Ethan, Colleen Shields.
* Crew Members: Melanie Boscariol
Regardless of the conditions, that finally involved Fog from the cold lake waters, Rebekah mantained an impressive pace, as seen in her Speed-vs-Distance Plot.
The Lake, however, did not cooperate. Steadily decreasing water temperatures resulted in an encounter with Extremly Low values, below 10C, that caused Rebekah's monitored (CorTemp) core-temperature to start to drop steadily as monitored over a 35-minute period. So the Swim Master, realizing that the Ladies Record was now beyond grasp and appreciating the risk to the swimmer's health, decided to terminate the swim.
So, the swim was terminated after 14 hours 50 minutes 37 seconds, having coverd over 47 km and with only 4 km to go to reach Marilyn Bell Park.
* Following the success of her 2011 fund-raising campaign, and with similar intentions, Rebekah's 2014 swim was directed to raising funds for the hospice at Emily's House and their
programme of palliative support for children.
* Sadly the water temperature dictated a Safety stop to the swim and, consequently, had a notable effect on the fund-raising campaign; however, it still raised over $2,000.
With Rebekah's established record of concern for the wellbeing of others, and especially children, it is not surprising that she went on to obtain a BSc in Kinesiology (2016) from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and an MSc in Occupational Therapy (2018) from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. Eventually becoming fully qualified and registered as an Occupational Therapist.
During her academic studies in Halifax, Rebekah volunteered as a swimming coach for the Special Olympics and at Isaak Walton Killam Health Centre to work with children with classroom disorders. In Kingston, this volunteer work continued and she became involved with Vicki Keith's swim-team, the Kingston Y Penguins in Ontario.
In 2018, Rebekah became fully registered as an Occupational Therapist in Ontario and, in 2022, Rebekah has continued her children-oriented work with Kayla's Children Centre, Thornhill, Ontario, and 1to1 Therapy Services.
The other two ladies were Cindy Nicholas (1974) and Samantha Whiteside (2006).
Among the Men on this course, John Scott has swum it faster than these 3 ladies and he did it twice !
© Material supplied by Colleen Shields' Swim Master report and photos from Rebekah.
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Created: 24th January 2022
Last Updated: 6th February 2022