Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

MARILYN KORZEKWA

First Triple Crown Canadian
Over 35 Years of Major Marathon Swims

Apart from her Lake Ontario conquests Marilyn Korzekwa was the first Canadian to complete the Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming - The English Channel, The Manhattan Island swim, and the Catalina Channel.

A number of Marilyn's swims are detailed below and include details of her SSO-recorded swims: Lake Ontario (1983 & 1984), Lake Simcoe (2011), Lake Muskoka (2013), and Lake Joseph (2014), and Lake of Bays (2016).

Brief notes and links are included for some of her other swims: Lake Rosseau (2009), English Channel (2011), Key West (2012), Catalina Channel (2013), and Manhattan Island (2014), Canadian Maritimes 3-Province Swim (2015), Cook Strait (2016), Cape Cod Bay (2016), Severn River (2017), and Lake Tahoe (2017).


Lake Ontario, 1983 & 1984

Dr Marilyn Korzekwa, MD was the first person to have completed Lake Ontario swims from both south-to-north and north-to-south on September 1-2, 1983 and August 17-18, 1984 respectively. Her 1984 north-south swim was the first completed by a Canadian, and had only been preceded by USA swimmer Diana Nyad in 1974. The start of the 1983 swim is shown above, together with the approach to Leslie Street Spit (Toronto) with the legendary Cliff Lumsdon driving the inflatable.

The start and finish of the 1984 swim are depicted below. On the left and about to exit the inflatable to start at Leslie Street Spit, Marilyn is seen well-greased with (L-R) friend, Cliff Lumsdon, and Brian Mercer. At the right, and 21 hours 0 minutes later, Marilyn is seen exiting the water at the beach to the west of the harbour at Port Dalhousie.

Lake Rosseau, Ontario, 2009

. 17 August 2009. Rosseau to Port Carling. 16.7 km in 7 hours 38 minutes 45 seconds.

Lake Simcoe & The English Channel, 2011

Marilyn was stimulated to get back into serious training again in 2010, and completed a cold (13-20 deg.C) and arduous, 35 km swim in 18:45 on 26-27 June 2011 on Lake Simcoe (Barrie to Orillia).

The Lake Simcoe swim was completed as a "warm up" for her successful crossing of the English Channel (E-F) in 16:40 on 21 Aug 2011 when she became the oldest Canadian woman to cross the Channel.

Her swim led to her receipt of the 2011 CSA Van Audenaerde award for Endurance.

The swim is described in further detail in her associated Channel Blog.

Key West, Florida, 2012

. 16 June 2012. Florida Community Center swim around Key West. 20.1 km, 8 hours 15 minutes. Water 30.5-31 deg.C ((87-88 deg.F). Oldest woman ever.

Lake Muskoka, 2013

At age 56 years and 75 days, Marilyn completed the first recorded distance-swim on Lake Muskoka with a time of 11 hours 44 minutes and twenty seconds for a course of 27.33 km.

The swim started to the west of the Sunset Grill (916 Bay Street, Highway 168, Gravenhurst (44.9203667 N, 79.38475 W) and headed north to finish at the boat ramp at Hannah Park (The foot of Bailey Street), Port Carling (45.1136166 N, 79.580733 W).

This swim was a training event for her subsequent crossing of the Catalina Channel in the following month

Her four-person crew included fellow swimmers Thie Convery, Debbie Bang and Debbie Golob.

A news report was issued on MuskokaRegion.com.

Lake Muskoka Swim-List
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Catalina Channel, 2013

At age 56, and thirty years after her first crossing of Lake Ontario, Marilyn set-out at 10:00 pm on 29 August 2013 to take-on the 32 km crossing of the Catalina Channel.

She was stimulated by the knowledge that on 15th January 1927, Canadian George Young had become the first person to cross the Catalina Channel with his time of 15:44:30. So, 14 hours and 24 minutes 24 seconds after her start, Marilyn crawled ashore to complete official-crossing #273, and become the oldest Canadian and the fastest Canadian woman to have crossed the San Pedro Strait (Catalina Channel) from Catalina Island to Point Vincente (Pelican Cove), California.

A more detailed write-up of the event was published by the Hamilton Spectator.

Marilyn's Catalina swim is described in further detail in her associated Catalina Blog.


Lake Joseph 2014

At age 57 years and 75 days, Marilyn completed the first recorded distance-swim on Lake Joseph with a time of 9 hours 30 minutes on a course of 21.65 km.

The swim started at Cetennial Beach, 276 Clear Lake Road, Port Cockburn (45.253766 N, 79.7657833 W) and headed south to finish at a beach east of the dock at Port Sandfield (45.1155833 N, 79.62115 W).

This swim was a training event for her Manhattan Island swim which she completed in the following month.

Her two-person crew included fellow swimmer Thie Convery.

A news report was issued on MuskokaRegion.com.

SSO's Lake Joseph Swim-List |
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Manhattan Island 2014

Canadian 3-Province Swim 2015

On 12th July 2014, Marilyn completed her quest for the Triple Crown with her 10:02:21 and 45.9 km (28.5 mile) circumnavigation of Manhattan Island. .

Marilyn became the Oldest Canadian to have completed this swim.

The challenges and elation involved with Marilyn's Manhattan Island swim are best described in her own words in her Manhattan Blog.
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Marilyn completed a Canadian 3-Province swim on 25-26 July 2015 at age 58. The swim started at 7:22 pm at Aggermore Point (Nova Scotia), proceeded to Indian Point (New Brunswick), and finished at Borden (Prince Edward Island). The swim took a total of 16 hours 41 minutes and 8 seconds, and covered a distance of 35.3 km.

The swim was sanctioned by WOWSA and the Marathon Swimmers Federation and was monitored throughout by their official Observer Jen Alexander. Here is a link to a Detailed Report on the swim.
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Lake of Bays, 2016

. 25 June 2016. Lake of Byas, Ontario. Baysville to Dwight. 22.45 km, 9 hours 49 minutes. Water 19-22 deg.C.

Cook Strait 2016

Cape Cod Bay 2016

Marilyn conquered the Cook Strait on 18 March 2016 with her 26 km crossing in a time of 11:34:08 and became the first Canadian and oldest woman to complete this feat.

She started her swim from the South Island at 9:28 am and ploughed through the 15-16 deg.C waters.

She was piloted by Philip Rush and had the support of her swimming colleague Colleen Shields. The swim was reported online by The Hamilton News.
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Marilyn completed the 32 km crossing of Cape Cod Bay (Plymouth to Provincetown, MA) on 11 August 2016 a time of 13 hours 6 minutes, with water temperatures of 64-73 deg.F and so became the first Canadian, oldest woman and 9th person to complete the swim.

She was stimulated by an unexpected set-off greeting from Marilyn Bell - a long-time friend and motivator of so many marathon swimmers.

With her arms greased with black-and-white stripes, she was mimicking a snake, which is supposed to help keep sharks at bay.

A write-up on the swim was provided by The Hamilton News.
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Severn River, Ontario, 2017

. Swim for the Cure, Severn River, Muskoka, Ontario, 12.8 km, 4 hours 40 minutes.

Lake Tahoe 2017

Monitored by the Lake Tahoe Marathon Swimming Federation, the swim started from Camp Richardson (California) at 8:30 pm on Sunday 20 August 2017.

The water was stable throughout at 20-deg.C (68-deg.F).

Marilyn arrived at Hyatt Beach (Nevade) just after 1:30 pm on Monday 21 August and so completed the 34.2 km course in 17 hours 2 minutes to become the first Canadian and Oldest Woman to complete this swim.
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Since 1985, Marilyn has acted as an SSO Swim Master on more than 30 SSO-monitored swims and helped many others fulfil their marathon-swimming dreams.

From 1988, she has contributed much time to the organization and planning of SSO activities - serving on the Board of Directors, acting as the Medical Officer, Vice President, Secretary, and Chair of the Risk Management activities.

In 2017, Marilyn took on the role as President of SSO.

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Updated: 8th March 2018