Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame


Lake Erie Record-Holder (Fly & Free)
and Youngest Lake-Ontario Crossing

With Vicki Keith as her Coach, and John Munro as her Swim Master, Natalie was well-positioned to meet her wildest of dreams in the open-water scene.

Vicki has an amazing background of personal achievements, motivational speaking, and her support of young swimmers - both disabled and able-bodied. Similarly, John, has an enviable marathon-swimming background of his own.

And, of course, Natalie had her own motivations that were driven-on by the determination shown by her own sister Jenna who in 2007, at age 15, with her limitations of Cerebral palsy, battled adverse weather conditions to become the first female with a physical disability to cross Lake Ontario. Jenna's 32 hours and 18 minutes, 33 km, crossing was from Baird Point (New York) to Lake Ontario Park, in Kingston (Ontario).

But The Lake and Nature have their own quirks that can readily override even the best of swimmers' plans. In an environment that can produce, in a moment, an electric storm, a White Squall, or sink an Edmund Fitzgerald, there is no current human domination of these elements.

At the age of 13, Natalie Lambert set herself some amazing open-water swimming goals; however, with her legendary Coach, that is not surprising.

In a two-year period, Natalie Lambert established a number of records in her target to become the youngest swimmer to cross Lake Ontario. With her August 1st birthday, Natalie was well-set to corner a record where swimmers must be over 14 years of age when they complete their Trial Swim prior to their main swim; however, in the process, she also experienced some of the frustrations that Nature and life can generate to foil such efforts.

Three weeks after a 20:18, 41 km, sickness-withdrawal at age 14y 7d from her attempt on the NOTL-MBP course, Natalie became the youngest swimmer (14y 27d) to conquer any marathon-swimming course on Lake Ontario, with her 23:15, 54 km, crossing from Sackets Harbor (NY) to Confederation Park, Kingston (Ontario).

Data on Natalie's 2007-2009 six swims are summarized in the table below:
Date Age Swim Comments
8 Aug 2007 14y 7d Lake Ontario, NOTL to MBP
Battling headwinds and waves up to 1 m for the first half of the swim and then east/south-east winds averaging 16-17 knots, gusts of 21 knots, swells up to 3 m, and ongoing stomach sickness, Natalie and her Coach decided to abandon the swim after completing 41 km in 20:18.
27-28 Aug 2007 14y 27d Lake Ontario, 54 km, 23:15
Sackets Harbor (NY) to Confederation Park, Kingston (Ontario)
Youngest swimmer to cross lake Ontario on any course.
6 Jul 2008 14y 341d Lake Erie, 19.2 km, 7:47:30
Crystal Beach (Ontario) to Sturgeon Point (NY)
Butterfly Record. Youngest Erie crossing at that time. Ladies N-S Record
22 Jul 2008 14y 357d Lake Ontario, NOTL to MBP
With hot water (80-deg.F) and similar air conditions the swim was progressing well, but a number of electric storms started to develop around the lake and provided great concern for the Swim Master and pilots.
The swim nearly had to be terminated when a crew member encountered problems after entering the water for a swim.
The storms persisted and eventually the Swim Master was forced to terminate the swim due to continuing lake storms that were about to engulf them.
Natalie was still swimming well and had completed 42 km in 14:57.
23 Aug 2008 15y 22d Lake Ontario, NOTL to MBP
Faced with a sore throat and chills on the morning of this swim, Natalie and her Coach struggled with a decision to start e swim. Not wanting to second-guess at a later date whether she could have swum the Lake, Natalie made the choice and the swim started at 7:20 am; however, one hour into the swim and she was already suffering with minor waves of 1-2 feet.
5 hours and 48 minutes into the swim, with just over 16 km behind her, and feeling worse with her sore throat and chills, Natalie and her Coach decided to abandon the swim.
9 Jul 2009 15y 343d Lake Erie, 19.2 km, 6:40
Crystal Beach (Ontario) to Sturgeon Point (NY)
N-S Freestyle Record.

Natalie Lambert is a proud member of Vicki Keith's YMCA Y-Knot Abilities Programs in Kingston, and promoted on their Penguins Can Fly web-page, where there are further details on Natalie and Jenna's swims.

Stimulated by her sister Jenna who had raised over $200,000 the previous year with her 32:18, 33 km crossing of the Lake, Natalie's 2007 swims alone raised over $44,000 to support the Y Knot programmes.

As a measure of Natalie's personal drive, the following 2007 quotation is most revealing:

Natalie is already making a difference in many different aspects of her life. She volunteers at the Harrowsmith Free Methodist church in children's ministries, and is a core-group leader for the Junior Youth Group at her church. At school, she participates in many different team sports, and sits with the student council. She is an A student at Sydenham High School, excelling in math and sciences. Last year, she was selected as the class valedictorian as she graduated from elementary school. She is a respected leader on the Kingston Y Penguins Aquatic Club, and is a dedicated athlete who has achieved regional standards in competitive swimming. Her team-mates have honoured her with the nickname "Bulldog" as she is known for her persistence and determination. Her goal for the future is to attend medical school and become a doctor.

For all 6 swims:
Swim Master: John Munro
Coach: Vicki Keith

Compiled with materials provided by the Swim Master Reports, and the web-site Penguins Can Fly
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Created: 9th May 2013
Updated: 11th May 2013