Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

Elizabeth Fry

- True SOLO Swims -

Lake Ontario

On 11th September 2017, at age 58 years 315 days Elizabeth Fry from Connecticut USA, registered the fastest American Female time for the traditional crossing to Marilyn Bell Park. She completed the swim from south to north (Niagara-on-the-Lake to Marilyn Bell Park) in a time of 15 hours 46 minutes 16 seconds. The start of the swim was at 12:31 am. This was the latest swim-date recorded so far for this course on Lake Ontario.

The swim is of particular note since Elizabeth rejected any requests for others to swim with her (Pacing) during her swim. Pacers (Support swimmers) were traditional reserved for emergency situations where immediate contact may be required with a highly-fatigued swimmer; however, in recent years they have been allowed for "limited" periods to help a swimmer maintain their rate of progress.

Swim Master: Colleen Shields.
Coach: Peggy Gaskill.
Pilot: Christine Arsenault

Prior to her Lake Ontario crossing, Elizabeth had completed a number of impressive swims around the world, including the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

After touching the wall to finish, the photo shows Elizabeth exiting the water by climbing a ladder (Without problem) at Marilyn Bell Park.

Water temperature was fairly consistent throughout the swim, between 64-66-deg.F, and the winds, as forecast, remained calm throughout the swim.

She had a perfect course (See plot below) and maintained such a great pace that she was well on time to break the Female speed record; however, probably due to the current from the Humber River, she was slowed in the final approach to Marilyn Bell Park.

The Track RS programme creates a "smoothed" Speed plot; however, the smoothing simplifies a lot of the information related to the initial push of the Niagara River and the Feeding Intervals (which can readily observed with the regularity of the dips in the plot of speed

Elizabeth's core-temperature was measured at various stages throughout the swim via a radio-frequency CoreTemp pill located in her intestines. The recorded data show that her CoreTemp just before entering the water was 37.32-deg.C.

With 6 readings taken during the swim, her core temperature did not drop below 36.54-deg.C (At the 12-hour mark), finished at 36.56-deg.C and only showed a minor "after drop" to 36.25-deg.C 10-minutes after exiting the water.

Lake Huron

On 10-11 Aug 2018, almost one year after her Lake Ontario crossing, Liz became the oldest woman (at age 59 years 287 days) and first American to cross Lake Huron without the aid of a wetsuit.
Her time of 20:53:53 also set a new record and was faster than both the men's and women's time for this course from Port Sanilac (Michigan) to Port Franks (Ontario).

While the swim had been planned for many months, it was not until the final two weeks that the crew and vessels came together.
Several attempts had been made to get Canadian boats and crew from Goderich and Sarnia; however, nothing had materialized.
A detailed planning meeting took place in Port Sanilac on August 9, and final details were established at a pre-swim meeting before the start of the swim.

Both Liz and her crew were in attendance at SSO's 2018 annual Awards Ceremony that was held in Niagara-on-the-Lake. A number of photos from that session, which was also attended by Marilyn Bell, are included in the animated gif. The plot of speed has a few jumps in speed since the Tracker was located in one of the boats that accompanied Liz and so reflects movements of the Tracker which, consequently, only provides a rough indication of the swimmer's speed, especially where highs and lows appear.

Her Huron Team

The Huron Swim
The east-south-east swim started at 17:17:32 and, contrary to expectations, the northerly (NNE) wind did not die-down and remained at a challenging 7-9 knots (13-16 km/h) for the first 7 hours to create rolling swells up to 2' in height.
The water temperature ranged from 71-73-deg.F throughout the swims, with the air temperature between 70-74-deg.F and only dropping to 69-deg.F around 4:00 am.
Her stroke rate started at 64/minutes and quickly settled to 64 SPM and, apart from a brief drop to 58 SPM around sunrise, the last 8 hours were 60-61/minute.
The crew reported that the sunset, stars, planets, constellations and sunrise were particularly clear and memorable
Liz's feedings were well pre-planned by her a took place every hour on the quarter when she would announce what she wanted for the next feed - a truely experienced marathon swimmer..
After being informed of the arriving swimmer, a notable crowd of holiday makers gathered at the finish.
On the beach, Liz was presented with a painting by Jeffrey (Red) George who is a local Ojibway artist whose paintings hand in places from the UK to Australia, with many in both Canada and the USA.

A local newsman, JD Booth, from the Lambton Shield publications was among the crowd and was there to interview Liz. He created a wonderful online report on Liz's achievement which incorporated a couple of video interviews. Check the link and hear on YouTube Liz's love of Huron's Blue Waters.
The start and feeling of the darkness hours are well covered in another YouTube video.

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Created: 19th October 2017
Last Updated: 27th April 2020