Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

Susanne Robinson (née Welbanks)

Lake Erie

At age 36, on 30th July 2007 and coached by Karen Hillis, Susanne registered the fastest female crossing recorded by SSO for the Lake Erie course from Crystal Beach (Ontario) to Sturgeon Point (New York), with her time of 8 hours 14 minutes. Her RECORD stood for a year until it was broken by Natalie Lambert.

Her swim started at 8:32 am and was monitored and documented by Swim Master John Munro. After 5.5 hours, Susanne was accompanied by a pacer for and hour, and was accompanied for a further 30 minutes after 7 hours. Following a plan to drink water every 30 minutes and feed every hour, a light north-east wind produced waves up to 1 foot (30 cm) and the weather was ideal, with water temperatures ranging from 73-74-deg.F.

Lake Ontario

Susanne's Lake Ontario crossing followed 3 years later, at age 39, on 10-11 August 2010, when she completed her swim from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Leslie Street Spit in 24 hours 48 minutes - earning her a spot in the highly-respected 24-Hour Club.

With a 40-foot sailboat, 39-foot powerboat, two large inflatable boats, and a 12.5 foot kayak, she had a comprehensive crew of 14 individuals, that included her long-time coach Karen Stinson, together with the highly-experienced and accomplished Swim Master John Munro.

At the start, the sky was overcast with light fog, air temperature 23-deg.C, water at a balmy 26.8-deg.C, and a light westerly wind, on their planed trek to Marilyn Bell Park.

With shoulder problems at 6 hours, and over 14 km into the swim, a pacer joined Susanne in the water. Her coach Karen guessed that the position of the kayak could be creating a problem for Susanne, Together with a subsequent suggested change in stroke mechanics and the repositioning of the kayak, her shoulder problems started to reduce.

After 16 hours, Susanne was notably tiring; however, with calm water and a bright sky from Norther Lights above Toronto, the Swim Master deemed it safe to have a pacer in the water to motivate Susanne,

At 13.5 hours, the swimmer was placed 14 km from MBP and 12 km from Vicki Keith Point at Leslie Street Spit (LSS). Within the next hour, and 10 km from LSS, the decision was made to change course to Vicki Keith Point (LSS). 3 hours from the finish and the water temperature was registering 14 deg.C. Susanne eventually landed safely and in good spirits at 8:00 am on 11th August - 43 56' 55" N, 79 20' 34" W.

In the photos above, Susanne is seen lifting at heavy flat rock in celebration of her finish at 8:00 am at Vicki Keith Point on 11th August 2010.

In 2010, the Shriners' publication "Papyrus" published a tribute to Susanne in recognition of her fund-raising activities for Shriners' projects where both her mother and father (Nobel Eric and Lady Linda Welbanks) had been staunch supporters for many years in the Kingston District Shrine Club.

© Material supplied by John Munro's Swim Master reports, photos from Vicki Keith and Shriners' November-2010 Papyrus publication.

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Created: 4th August 2018
Last Updated: 30th July 2019