In just two years, Trinity Arsenault (a high-school student from St. Catharines, Ontario) made her impact on marathon swimming with her Record Breaking crossings of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the English Channel. Trinity raised money for Jumpstart, a Canadian Tire program that helps young athletes kids pay for training and equipment costs.
Trinity swam Lake Erie from Sturgeon Point, NY to Crystal Beach, on June 28, 2014 in a time of 7 hrs. 25 min 56 sec. At age 14y 34d, this swim was a RECORD for the youngest person to cross Lake Erie and it stood for two years until her sister Michaela swam it at age 14y 21d in 2016.
She had perfect conditions and was accompanied by volunteers of the Port Colborne Marine Auxilliary Rescue (POCOMAR) unit, along with Scott Wolfe's 29-foot sail-boat "Moving On".
At the 10:18 am start, the air and water temperatures were 83.2-deg.F and 67.8-deg.F respectively and reached peaks of 96-deg.F and 77.4-deg.F respectively. Starting at a pace of 3.5 km/h, Trinity settled to an easier pace of about 2.5 km/h after the first 3 hours, with some speedier bursts when a pacer was in the water after the first 5 hours.
Video of the Erie swim.
Trinity was 14 years and 70 days old when she swam Lake Ontario on Aug. 3-4, 2014 in 23:19:57. She became the youngest to swim Lake Ontario on the Niagara-on-the-Lake to Marilyn Bell Park route. She also became the first child of a successful Lake Ontario swimmer to also complete Lake Ontario. Her mother, Christine Arsenault swam from NOTL to MBP on August 8-9, 2011 in 22:22. With this crossing, Trinity became the youngest person to swim both Lakes Erie and Ontario.
The Lake Ontario crossing threw a huge challenge in Trinity's path, with an intense series of thunderstorms that were not predicted before the swim. These storms dumped 2 months' worth of rain in a few hours, flooding Burlington, causing millions of dollars of damage and closing the QEW highway. The first storm struck about 1:30 pm, after 19 hours of swimming. Quoting from Marilyn Korzekwa's Swim Master report:
. . . the storm passed behind us. It contained a couple of bolts of lightning and poured on us but was far away. Then the sun came out, followed by a very strong east wind, which blew us back on the rhumb line to Marilyn Bell Park [after earlier west winds had blown her off course]. Trinity kept her head down and swam as hard as she could, she really, really wanted MBP. Two hours later, the second storm poured on us and surrounded us on 2 sides. One strike of lightning was closer than the first storm, but as I was about to call the swim off, the 2 storms parted, one blowing east to VK Point and the other south. Then we were in a lighter patch that seemed to stretch from MBP to our position about 6 or 7 km out from MBP. The captain evaluated the winds and the course of the black clouds and said "the safest thing is to hold our course". Then there was a nasty black cloud on shore going west to east. We caught the rain from it but didn't see any lightning. As the third storm blew through, the winds picked up from the north to NE at 25 knots gusting to 38. The waves grew to over 2 metres for an hour-and-a-half. It was so bad, the kayak had to be removed from the water. Fortunately, the winds and waves died down for the last 2 km and Trinity was able to complete the swim.
Coach Vicki Keith recalls, "Winds reached 25 knots and we literally swam around the thunderstorms. At one point, we completely reversed the forward motion of the swim and had Trinity swimming back towards St Catharine's to avoid a thunderstorm. Then we had to readjust again and she sprinted towards Hamilton (west) to out-pace a different thunderstorm. These manoeuvres helped her outflank the thunderstorms that were pounding the entire region. Trinity increased her pace in the final hours of the swim to complete these manoeuvres and the swim."
Trinity's analysis of the swim, "It was tough". "It was meant to be".
Mother Christine's analysis of Trinity's swimming, "incredible… amazing." Comparing it to her own crossing in 2011, "My swim was nothing like what this girl just did."
The coach, Vicki Keith's analysis, "the most amazing crew I ever worked with."
The Swim Master, Marilyn Korzekwa's analysis, "the most incredible swimming I've ever seen on Lake Ontario."
Captains' analysis of the swim, "We were in God's hands".
After swimming across Lakes Erie and Ontario, Trinity led a group of her teammates on an epic relay swim in Lake Ontario in 2015 (not SSO sanctioned). The group swimming the lake achieved a World Record for the most kilometres (over 90) swum in a 24 hour period on August 31 - September 1, 2015. The swim raised funds for the charity "Canadian Tire Jumpstart foundation".
The 8-person team is shown below with manager Christine Arsenault:
L-R: Ayla Jukosky (11), Trinity Arsenault (15), Abby-gail Jones (15), Christine Arsenault (Manager), Michaela Arsenault (13), Charlie French (14), Jayson Pigeon (14), Ming Scott (17), and Alyssa Mundy (17).
|At 16, Trinity earned herself a spot in the international history books as the
youngest Canadian to swim the English Channel on September 13, 2016.
She swam the 34 km from England to France in a time of 12 hours and 30 minutes, facing high winds, and a surprise visit from two young seals.
To prepare for the English Channel swim, she followed a strict training schedule that included dry-land training with a friend, working out alongside her sister who was training for Lake Erie, training in the Ridley Pool with her fellow swim teammates, joining a swimming group alongside former Olympians, and outdoor cold-water training.
The family even travelled to the Florida Keys for two weeks in March to practice saltwater swimming.
As of the end of 2017, Trinity is retired from swimming and is enjoying success rowing for the City of St. Catharines Team.
For further information see Trinity's personal web-site.
Compiled from data and images provided by Christine Arsenault, Donna Abernathy, Marilyn Korzekwa and SSO Swim Master reports.
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Created: 24thNovember 2017
Last Updated: 27th November 2017