Doreen George is one of a long line of young female swimmers who have done so well in marathon swimming, and many of those swimmers were inspired by the achievements of Marilyn Bell. While Doreen's attempt to swim Lake Ontario was unsuccessful, it was one of the earliest attempts and warrants recording. Although the following newspaper report indicates that she completed the Atlantic City swim in 1955, there is no recording of her swim on the web-site of the Atlantic City swim or in Conrad Wennerberg's book that reflects the data reported on the AC Swim web-site. It may be that she finished outside a "cut-off" time. I would invite details to clarify this feature. :
Doreen George, determined to be the youngest swimmer to stroke across Lake Ontario, was pulled from the water about 1:45 a.m. today, little more than half-way from her starting point at Niagara-on-the-Lake. The 16-year-old Lakeshore Swimming Club member, who weighs a mere 110 pounds, was reported to have travelled about 17 miles before a choppy, rolling swell exhausted her energies.
In her final hour in the water she made little or no progress. She was compelled to take repeated rests and several times she appealed to her coach, Jim Currie, to take her out. Currie tried to reassure her several times; he advised her that her weariness would soon vanish if she would continue but his entreaties proved fruitless and he decided to remove her from the water.
Cliff Lumsdon, Canada's leading long-distance swimmer and also a member of Lakeshore Club, plunged into the lake to give Doreen encouragement. He stayed with her for a couple of hours. This has revitalized other swimmers in the past but the tiny Toronto girl couldn't snap out of her lethargy.
The water temperature remained a comfortable 70 degrees most of the time but the air temperature in the inky blackness was several degrees cooler and Doreen was shaking with cold when she was pulled out. Despite an adverse weather report, the five-feet one-inch youngster slipped into the water at Niagara-on-the-Lake at 3:47 p.m. hoping to duplicate Marilyn Bell's historic swim two years ago. Marilyn, however, started at neighbouring Youngstown, N.Y.
Accompanying her were her coach, Currie, father, Harold, and boatman, Ted Ball. Lumsdon, Gordon Crane, Elaine Jacques and Karen Green, went along as pacers. Doreen made rapid progress at the start and at about five hours it was estimated that she had travelled 11 miles. But then the lake developed a nauseous swell and she started to tire rapidly.
Doreen first made the headlines as a swimmer last year when she completed the 26-mile swim at Atlantic City. Since that accomplishment her ambition has been to swim the Lake.
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Created: 8th October 2007
Last Updated: 8th October 2007