Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

Vicki Keith, CM, O.Ont.
A Canadian Marathon Swimming Legend
and Inspirational Speaker

One of Canada's best known marathon swimmers and dedicated to the support and skills development of children and the disabled, Vicki is seen here in 1994 at the dedication ceremony for the plaque at Niagara-on-the-lake.

Vicki has been the recipient of over 41 awards and recognitions, with numerous swimming achievements to her name:

On the left, Vicki is captured by Steven Siewert (copyright) of the Sydney 'Sun Herald' during her 13.5 hour butterfly circumnavigation on 13 May 1989 of what she called Sydney's playground - 14 miles of Sydney Harbour and Darling Harbour.

After swimming in a shark cage for about the first two hours of her Sydney Harbour swim, Vicki could no longer stand the restriction "Because butterfly is such a wide stroke my fingers were being cut on the mesh. My feet, too. It was like a cheese grater."

The endurance aspect of marathon swimming covers a variety of evils including cold conditions, rough water, jelly fish, etc. - but for the unlucky, it may also include the occasional encounter with pollution. Vicki has encountered more than her fair share of oil slicks during her swims on Lake Ontario and during the Darling Harbour portion of her Australian swim. As she stepped ashore at Watsons Bay, at the end of her Sydney Harbour swim, an Australian reporter (Patrick Connelly of Wide Water swim magazine) described her as "resembling the business end of a dipstick"!

Vicki completed five successful crossings of Lake Ontario, including the only successful two-way swim to date, and the only crossing on butterfly. In 1988, Vicki completed a major swim on each of Canada's five Great Lakes (Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario) - all in the same year. Ten years after her 1988 feat, the city of Toronto honoured her by naming the point of Leslie Street Spit after her. The wording of the plaque that is located at the approach to Vicki Keith Point is reproduced below (with one spelling correction). The plaque is located at 43 36' 56" N, 79 20' 34" W and is well worth the walk to The Point on a weekend when industrial work on The Spit is on hold - it's a beautiful Nature Reserve.

Vicki's dream has always been to make a difference in other peoples lives, so, in 2005, when the need for new opportunities for children with disabilites in Kingston, Ontario became apparent, Vicki came out of swimming retirement, and spent 63 hours and 40 minutes in Lake Ontario, completing 80.2 kilometres butterfly, setting 2 world records and raising over $200,000 for the Kingston Family YMCA This brought her lifetime fundraising total to over one million dollars.

Welcome to


This point of land was the most famous arrival and
departure point for Vicki Keith's Lake Ontario Swims.

This plaque has been erected on the 10th anniversary of
Vicki Keith's historic swims across all five Great Lakes
during the summer of 1988. Throughout her swimming career,
Vicki Keith set 17 world records. She made the 52 kilometre
crossing of Lake Ontario a record 5 times,
including the first double crossing and the first crossing
using the highly exhausting butterfly stroke exclusively.

Determined to raise awareness as well as funds for disabled children,
Vicki's history-making marathons generated
more than $800,000 for Variety Club projects worldwide.
Close to $600,000 of this was raised specifically for
the Variety Village Sunshine Pool.

In recognition of a great Canadian athlete and humanitarian,
Mayor Mel Lastman, Council and
the residents of Toronto hereby dedicate this plaque on
August 29, 1988


A year after her 1988 achievements on the Great Lakes, Vicki went on to conquer the English with the first ever crossing on butterfly with a time of 23:33. Also in 1989, she crossed the Catalina Channel from Catalina to the mainland in a time of 14:53:26 in September.

Vicki continues to train disabled swimmers and provides numerous Inspirational Talks. One of her notable achievements was the training of quadruple-amputee Ashley Cowan to swim Lake Erie. In 2012 Vicki released a video of one of her inspirational talks that focussed on the determination and achievement of Ashley Cowan.

- An Amazing Listing of Achievements -

SSO Home Page | Swim List | NOTL Plaque | Vicki Keith Point | Swim Ontario Hall of Fame
Commemorative Plaques | Catalina Channel | Order of Canada
Order of Ontario | Canadians in the Channel | Contact WebMaster

Created: 20th August 2000
Last Updated: 18th May 2020