Welcome to my 2016 swim website. For those of you who don't know me, I swam Lake Ontario the easy way in 1983 and the hard way in 1984. I “came out of retirement" to swim the English Channel (oldest Canadian woman) in 2011. In 2013, I was the oldest Canadian to swim the Catalina strait in California. After swimming around Manhattan Island (oldest Canadian) in 2014, I became the first Canadian to complete the Triple Crown of open water swimming (English Channel, Catalina Strait and Manhattan.) Last year I was the first to swim between three provinces: from Nova Scotia north to New Brunswick and across the Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island (34 kms). This year on March 18, I became the first Canadian and the oldest woman ever to swim the icy and turbulent Cook Strait between the south and north islands in New Zealand. (See links below for more detail.)

On August 11, 2016, I hope to become the first Canadian to swim from Plymouth to Provincetown, Massachusetts, across Cape Cod Bay. This “P2P” swim has only been accomplished by 6 people (all American), although the swim has been attempted numerous times since 1915. The swim from Manomet Beach in Plymouth to Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown is about 32 kilometers. The biggest challenge is the current which circulates in a counter-clockwise direction around the relatively shallow bay. The water temperature is expected to be between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius. The swim is officiated by the Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association (MOWSA), whose rules are based on the English Channel rules. https://massopenwaterswimming.com/

I am pleased to be able to use this opportunity to raise money for Sashbear, an organization founded by Lynn Courey, whose daughter, Sasha, a swimmer with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), died by suicide in 2011. Sashbear funds education programs for therapists, families and in schools. I have dedicated my psychiatric career to the treatment and research of BPD, which has a suicide rate of 10%. More treatment programs and support for families are desperately needed in Canada. Please support my swim by donating to Sashbear. Thank you. http://sashbear.org/en/

Across Cape Cod Bay:

Across Cape Cod Bay:
Across Cape Cod Bay: Plymouth to Provincetown

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Point Vicente

After swimming my last 4.5 km in the 15.5 degree water, we drove down to Point Vicente, where I landed after swimming across the Catalina Strait in 2013. It was cloudy today so Catalina Island, where I started the swim, was barely visible. We took a few pictures and took the hiking trail down the cliff.
I did the math, I swam 47.5 km in the last 8 days in the ocean.
Heading home tomorrow after a successful training week. The most important thing about the training week was that I did OK in the cold water and my new stroke held up well in the waves.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Last long swim in the ocean

Today I swam from our condo to downtown Long Beach and back, a distance of 11.2 km in 4 hrs 29 min. Water temperature varied from 15.5 to 16.5 degrees C. It was sunny and the air temp go up to 19 deg C. The waves got progressively bigger, slamming into my right shoulder on the return trip. At a couple of points, I had to dive through a wave before it crashed on me. The waves kept pushing me into the shallower water and it seemed like I was constantly swimming through the surf trying to get to calmer deeper water.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Why Long Beach for training?

People ask me why I go to Long Beach for training. I fell in love with Long Beach when I came here to swim the Catalina strait.  Long Beach is long, 6 km to be precise. This gives me a nice long stretch of open water parallel to the beach to swim. The main thing is the long breakwall that protects the beach from high waves and sharks. The locals complain that their water and sand is not scoured clean by the waves like other beaches in California. but it works for me. I especially like that I don't have to worry about rip tide currents. Finally, the water temperature this month is similar to that of the Cook Strait so it is perfect for helping me acclimatize.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Successful long swim

Today was the long swim of the week. I wanted to do it while the water is still cool. It will be warming up because it will be sunny all week. I swam 16 km in 6 hrs 37 min. The water varied from 15.5 to 16.5 deg Celsius. The waves were up to 1 metre and breaking for about half the swim which slowed me down. I feel ready for the cold water temperatures in New Zealand.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Greetings from Long Beach, California

  Although the Three Provinces swim was a great training swim for the Cook Strait, that was back in July. Since October, I've been stuck doing my training in a pool. This month, my goal is 30 km per week. That is a lot of flip turns, 1200 per week, to be precise. That is hard on my back. But more than the physical challenges in the pool, I need to be ready for the cold ocean in New Zealand.
  So that is why I am training in the ocean in California in January. Today, the water was 16 degrees C, the air was 15 degrees and the sky was cloudy. I swam fast and stayed warm, so the 1 1/2 hour swim was a great start to the training week!


  I am so excited that Sashbear is now a registered charity. I first worked with Lynn in 2012 when she invited me to speak about swimming and mental health at a swim meet she had organized. Since then I have watched Sashbear grow and do great things. This October, I spoke with Lynn at the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders (ISSPD) in Montreal. Lynn chaired the first ISSPD Family Day. She told me that Sashbear has been doing a lot of speaking to students in schools about BPD and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), the best treatment for BPD. She was excited that Sashbear was able to help Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto expand DBT services by providing training for 75 therapists! From Montreal, Lynn was selflessly driving straight to Toronto to train 50 therapists and family members to be leaders in the Family Connections program. This is a program based in DBT that helps family members support their loved one who is struggling with BPD.
  The board of Sashbear is currently busy planning how to use my Cook Strait swim to raise awareness about BPD and suicide and to fundraise. Please support me and help Sashbear train more therapists and family members. http://sashbear.org/en