Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

First Deaf Swimmer to Cross a Great Lake

After 8 years of preparation and training, on 18 Jul 2015 Brenda Lussier became the first recorded Deaf Swimmer to have swum across one of the Canadian Great Lakes. At age 38, she completed an 18.6 km crossing of Lake Erie from the west side of the marina at Sturgeon Point (New York) to the municipal boat launch at Crystal Beach (Ontario), in a time of 10:03.

Brenda's Lake Erie swim was conducted as her qualifying swim for her attempt on Lake Ontario later in the season and both swims were aimed to support a Cystic Fibrosis charity. CF is a genetic condition that affects the respiratory system and threatens the life of her brother.
Lake Erie

The map of the course was obtained from the SPOT Tracker`s time-stamped GPS data and the notations reflect the time-of-day at the specified points.

The Speed Data were computed from the GPS positional data that were transmitted every 10 minutes from the SPOT Tracker that was in the boat beside Brenda. The speed ranges between 0.9 and 2.6 km/h with the ``dips`` being reflective of stops that occurred during the associated 10-minute period.

Note: the targeted finish had been the public beach at Crystal Beach, which is to the west of the final landing point; however, a sailing regatta forced a change in plans for the landing point and, consequently, the actual distance covered was 19.7 km (12.3 miles).

Date . . .
Start Time . . .
Swim Time . . .
Starting Point . . .

Finishing Point . . .

Straight line Distance
. . ..

Note . . .
Swim Master . . .
Coach . . .
Medical Officer . . .
Interpreter . . .
Pilot Boat and Zodiac . . .
Support Boat . . .

Zodiac driver . . .
Pacers . . .
Photographer . . .
Water Temperature . . .
Stroke Rate . . .
Winds . . .

. . .


18 July 2015
7:20 am
10 hours 3 minutes
Sturgeon Point, New York state. Beach on the west side of the marina,
42.691827N, 79.047483W
Crystal Beach, Ontario. Municipal boat launch,
42.858573 N, 79.057865W
18.6 km (11.5 miles)

"D" designates a Deaf support-person
Colleen Shields
Joey Bell (D)
Rosalie Vissers
Gord Histrop
Norm Dashwood, Dawn Currie, Lucas Mark, Jeff MacDonald
Joey Bell (D)
Joey Bell, Rebekah Boscariol
Megan Lussier (D)
20C (68F) until the last 3 km where it rose to 21.7C (71F)
52 strokes per minute until the last 3 km where it dropped to 48-50 SPM
SW-WSW winds for the first 1.5-2 hours creating waves of 0.5-0.9 m (Up to 3 feet),
then relatively calm for the remainder of the swim with the winds freshening again
after the swim was completed
A fog rolled in after the first two hours of swimming and did not disperse until Brenda
was about 3 km away from Crystal Beach


Lake Ontario

Brenda`s Lake Erie crossing caused some injury to her right shoulder and this injury proved to be a significant problem in the final stages of her Lake Ontario swim. While the weather conditions were excellent from the start, SW winds developed as she approached Toronto Island on her targeted course to the Argonaut Club (The target, since the gap was closed in the breakwater and prevented access to Marilyn Bell Park). So around 8:00 am, Coach Joey decided to change her course to land at Leslie Street Spit (Vicki Keith Point); however, with the adverse winds and her limited shoulder strength she was being driven to the east and past LSS. Consequently, with no hope left for making landfall, Brenda made the agonizing decision to retire.

This was a tremendously courageous swim, requiring extra vigilance from the crew to ensure the safety of a deaf swimmer - especially during the darkness of night.

Brenda`s 26 hour 16 minute swim covered a straight-line distance of 40.8 km and earned her a special mention in the Open Water Pedia`s 24-Hour-Club listing.

A poem "I hear ya" was written as a tribute to Brenda's tremendous efforts and achievements with her Lake Ontario swim.


Speed is displayed in km/h and illustrates the "push" from the Niagara River during the first 3 hours of swimming.

Start Time . . .
Swim Time . . .
Starting Point . . .

Retirement Time . . .
Retirement Point . . .

Straight-line Distance . . .
Distance travelled over water

Note . . .
Swim Master . . .
Assistant Swim Master . . .
Medical Officer . . .
Coach . . .
Deaf Interpreter . . .
American Sign Language
. . .
Feeders . . .
Pilot Boat and Owner . . .
Support Boat #1 . . .
Support Boat #2 . . .
Support Boat #3
. . .
Zodiac Drivers . . .
Pacers . . .
Other Crew Members
. . .
Photographer & Media . . . . . .

15-16 August 2015
5:03 pm, Saturday, 15th August 2015
26 hours 16 minutes
Gazebo, Niagara on the Lake:
43.257876N, 79.068301W
7:19 pm, Sunday, 16th August 2015
~5 km SE of Vicki Keith Point (Leslie Street Spit):
43.586060N, 79.293790W
40.8 km
44.3 km

"D" Designates a Deaf Interpreter
Colleen Shields
Marilyn Korzekwa
Marilyn Korzekwa
Joey Bell (D)
Christie Sharp (D)

Annalee, Andrea Krause, Gloria Brifoglio
Christie Sharp (D)
R & R, twin-engine power boat. Christine Arsenault
GAMRU, large rigid inflatable boat (RIB), Bob Gordon, Kyle Russell,
Andrew Pattemore
Sea Monk, 21-Foot RIB. Thomas Dobokay
15-Foot Mercury inflatable. Marilyn Korzekwa
Josef Polcz, Matthew Brownell (D)
Christine Arsenault, Colleen Shields, Joey Bell (D), Marilyn Korzekwa,
Rebekah Boscariol, Trinity Arsenault
Megan Lussier (D)
John Ironside

Other Reports on Brenda:
* Open Water Pedia - Personal Page.
* Special Note in 24-Hour Club of Open Water Pedia.
* 3-B Solutions article.
* Facebook page.

Compiled with SPOT Tracker data and materials supplied by Colleen Shields, Marilyn Korzekwa and Brenda
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Created: 17th October 2015
Updated: 21st December 2015