Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

Elizabeth Fry

All FIVE Great Lakes (2017-2022)

Lake Ontario 2017 | Lake Huron 2018 | Lake Michigan 2020 | Lake Erie 2022 | Lake Superior 2022

With her 2022 crossing of Lake Superior, Liz became the third person (ALL LADIES), and First American, to have made crossings on all 5 Great Lakes.
The previous conquerors were Vicki Keith who conquered all 5 lakes in one season in 1988, and Paula Stephanson whose swims spanned 1996-2009.

SOLO Swims: In general Liz insists on not needing a Support Swimmer (Pacer); however, the challenges of piloting and navigation on her Lake Michigan swim led to a highly experienced swimmer, Qing Li, helping her to keep course during three 45-60-minute periods in the evening hours.

Lake Ontario 2017

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 2018

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 Sweat Lodge 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. The Sweat Lodge image is depicted in the animated gif of the Huron swim.

A local journalist, JD Booth, owner/operator of Lambton Shield publications was among the crowd and was there to interview Liz. In one issue of his publication, he created a wonderful online report on Liz's achievement which incorporated a couple of video interviews. Sadly the videos were lost upon the passing of JD.who, sadly, passed away prematurely at age 67 in 2020 and, like a number of past media publications, his wonderful online publication and its archives were lost to us.
Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, their children and grandchildren.
Many thanks to JD and his wife for the loving services that they provided for our Community of Lambton Shores.

Check this YouTube link to hear of Liz's love of Huron's Blue Waters.
The start and feeling of the darkness hours are well covered in another YouTube video.

Lake Michigan 2020

This swim was conducted under the guidelines of the Marathon Swimmers Federation (MSF) and a well-detailed report was compiled by their Observers Marcia Cleveland and Qing Li who are both well-established marathon swimmers in their own right.


Her Michigan Team
  • MSF Observer: Marcia Cleveland
  • MSF Observer and Support Swimmer: Qing Li
  • "Mirage" power boat out of DuSable Harbor, Chicago: Captain, Walter "Sonny" Lisowski; First Mate, Lloyd Karzen. The MSF report contains no details of the size or power of the vessel.
  • Crew: Debra Masso & Peggy Gaskill

The Michigan Swim
START: 7:00:00 am, 2 September 2020, Promontory Point, Chicago, Illinois, 41.795462N, 87.575424W
FINISH: 4:45:06 am, 3 September 2020, Washington Park Beach, Michigan City, Indiana, 41.727458N, 86.908867W
DISTANCE: 55.9 km (34.7 miles)
TIME: 21:45:06
AGE AT COMPLETION: 61 years 311 days
PACER: Qing Li. 45 minutes at 7:35 pm, 60 minutes at 10:00 pm, 60 minutes at 1:00 am, and 13 minutes at the finish
. Water 66-77F (19-24C)
. Air: 70-87F (21-31C)
. Wind: 1-17 mph (2-27 km/h)
FEEDING: Primarily every hour with a few feeds after 40 minutes
. Vitargo drink; GU; Coca Cola; Electrolyte Fizz; FRS Chews.
VIDEO: There is an excellent YouTube video of Liz's Lake Michigan swim. There is no mention in the official report of the flies that bugged the crew during the swim!

Lake Erie 2022


Her Erie Team
  • Assistant Swim Masters: Kat Borczak, Geoff Farrow
  • "R&R" power boat: Owner & Pilot Christine Arsenault, Assistant Rick McLean
  • Zodiac: 14', 45 HP: Drivers Charles Gervais, Geoff Farrow, Kat Borczak
  • Coach/Feeder: Peggy Gaskill

The Erie Swim
25 June 2022
: 10:45:00 am, Sturgeon Point, NY, 42.6916666N, 79.0433333W
FINISH: 5:28:00 pm, Crystal Beach, Ontario 42.8621111N, 79.0647222W
DISTANCE: 19.2 km
TIME: 6:43:58
AGE AT COMPLETION: 63 years 240 days

. Water: 20-23C (Port Colborne marine buoy). Measured 21.5C (71F) consistent.
. Air: 21-26C (Port Colborne marine buoy)
. Waves: ~0.1 m, Reported as Calm throughout
FEEDING: Every Hour with Vitargo and Water

Lake Superior 2022


Her Superior Team
  • Support Swim Master: Peter Kondra.
  • Lead Boat: Steele'n Time, 40' Beneteau 390 sailboat, David Steele and Mo.
  • Evacuation Boat: M.J. McCracken III, 24' Limestone Powerboat, Scott Walker, Sault Search & Rescue.
  • Lifeguard Boats: Two 10' rigid inflatables, one with 20 HP motor, and the other with centre console, steering wheel, and 30 HP motor.
  • Crew: Peggy Gaskill, Debbie Masso, Peyton Gaskill
  • No Pacers

The Superior Swim
DATE: 24 August 2022
: 6:25:44 am, Whitefish Point, Michigan, 46.7673055N, 84.9469722W
FINISH: 3:57:48 pm, Pancake Bay, Ontario 46.9605N, 84.7104444W
DISTANCE: 28.7 km
TIME: 9:32:04
63 years 300 days

. Water: 20-19-20C but Liz reported there were areas where the temperature at her fingers was notably colder than the surface temperature.
. Air: Varied between 18 and 22C
. Waves: Ranged between 20 and 60 cm
. Liz did get battered by a 12 knot NW wind for 2 hours near the end, but continued to attack the water and maintain a 3 km/h pace.
FEEDING: Every Hour with Vitargo, NUUN electrolyte tablet dissolved in water, GU expresso or Hammer gel vanilla, or FRS Healthy Energy chew. Typically 6 oz (~195 mL).

Other Swims & Recognitions

Liz is an internationally-accomplished marathon swimmer who was inducted as an Honor Swimmer into the IMSHOF in 2014.
Subsequently, in 2020, she received the IMSHOF annual Irving-Davids award as an Honor Administrator.

There are extensive lists of her swims, including:
. Openwaterpedia
. Wikipedia - Oceans Seven
. Long Swims Database

SSO Home Page | Lake Ontario Swim List | Lake Huron Swim List | Contact WebMaster
Lake Erie Swim List | Lake Superior Swim List | Lake Michigan Swim List
MSF Listing of Liz's Lake Michigan Swim
IMSHOF | Lambton Shield Article

Created: 19th October 2017
Last Updated: 10th February 2023