Teen swimmer completes historic Lake Ontario crossing
Published Sunday, August 19, 2012 12:54PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 19, 2012 10:28PM EDT
Teenage swimmer Annaleise Carr has arrived at Toronto’s Marilyn Bell Park, making history by becoming the youngest swimmer to cross Lake Ontario.
Carr was welcomed by fans and well wishers at 8:58 p.m. local time Sunday, marking the end of her grueling 52.5-kilometre swim that started in Niagara-on-the-lake on Saturday evening.
Carr completed the swim in about 27 hours.
Immediately after arriving, a shivering but smiling Carr was met by her parents and her doctor who was to examine the teen’s physical condition.
She was then taken to the hospital for a more thorough examination, as mandated by the organizers of the swim.
Before she departed, however, the teen’s spokesperson did indicate to the crowd that Carr was OK, said CP24 reporter Cristina Tenaglia.
Tenaglia said a crowd of nearly 400 were on location to cheer and welcome Carr.
“One person shouted out amongst all the cheers, there was a moment of quiet and someone said ‘Annaleise, you’re a superhero,’” said Tenaglia.
The teen is expected to formally address the media in Port Dover on Monday.
Carr, who is from Norfolk County, Ont., was swimming to raise funds for Camp Trillium – a camp for children with cancer.
During the teen’s swim she encountered winds causing large swells and five-foot waves. But according to Carr’s parents, who were providing updates on their daughter’s progress online, the teen always remained in good spirits.
A 3 p.m. update on Sunday stated that there was “no way” that Carr would come out of the water.
“She’s having a pretty good time actually! They’re trying to get her to stop splashing the pacers! More thumbs up and big smiles!!!”
Carr departed shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday evening from the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Carr was originally supposed to start her crossing on Friday, but had to postpone the swim due to high winds.
Carr had set a $30,000 fundraising goal for Camp Trillium, but surpassed that goal by raising more than $60,000 for the camp by noon Sunday.
Throughout her swim Twitter users expressed support for the determined teen.
Carr even received a message of support from the daughter of the first woman to swim across Lake Ontario, Marilyn Bell.
On Sunday, Jodi DiLascio tweeted: “We are ALL pulling for you Anna. Steady strokes now.”
Earlier Sunday, marathon swimming coach Alex McMillin told CTV News Channel that Carr looked to be in great shape 20 hours into her swim.
“It’s unbelievable what she’s pulling off. She still continues to increase her pace and keep on pushing forward,” McMillin said.
The Burlington-based coach said that while athletes can physically train for endurance sports, mental training is trickier.
“I don’t think there’s any way to get around swimming for 20 hours,” McMillin said. “It’s just a drive and desire they have to accomplish the task.”
He said that having pacers in the water to accompany the swimmer on certain parts of the course can provide a much-needed “pick-me-up” towards the final stages of the swim.
“When they’re starting to get tired, you want to make them think of other things, things that takes them away from the mundane task of one arm over the other for extended periods of time.”
Carr had been training for months in preparation for the swim and excitedly tweeted from her Twitter account Saturday: “Lake crossing looking like a go! Can't wait to touch that wall at Marilyn Bell Park!”
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