Vicki Keith
Goderich Beach Poem

A marathon swim evokes many emotions in the participants, and Vicki's epic two-day marathon clearly affected the emotions of the crew of her accompanying boats. Mary Sutherland was stimulated to write the following poem which is related both to the Lake Huron swim and to Vicki's incredible conquest of all five Great Lakes in the same year.

It is interesting that, without having seen this plaque until April 2000, I wrote a poem with a number of similar emotions to commemorate John Bulsza's crossing of Lake Ontario in August 1996.

The plaque is located in Goderich, Ontario. It stands adjacent to the boardwalk that overlooks the beach where Vicki finished her Lake Huron swim. The beach is just to the south of the harbour. The large brass plaque stands to the right of the plaque that commemorates Vicki's Lake Huron crossing. It forms a two page display, with seven verses on the left display and six verses on the right. The text is presented on the plaque in large and small capitals.


VICKI KEITH

The five Great Lakes with their winds and gales
Were beaten into submission.
This time it was not by engines or sails,
But a girl with a heartwarming mission.

T'was the crossing of Huron we entered the scene,
And a wonderful thing it was too,
To be part of a legend and part of a dream,
Our boat and the Abigail II.

It was Vicki Keith with her winning ways,
And her strokes so strong and true,
That led us through two nights and days
As we cheered from the Scotia Blue.

It was early one morning from Harbor Beach
We began our historical cruise,
It was Goderich in Canada she had to reach,
And we knew Vicki Keith wouldn't lose.

The Lake wasn't kind, it was terribly rough.
Five miles she was blown off course.
We wallowed and rolled as we sat in the trough
That wind had a terrible force!

Cross shipping lanes in the black of night
With two Zodiacs beside her,
And our two boats with a strong Strobe light
To navigate and guide her.

A mile and a half was our average speed,
As stroke after stroke she'd progress,
Then would stop every hour to have a small feed,
Drinking soup, treading water, no less!



At six in the morning when she waded ashore
There were hundreds who'd waited all night.
The cheers turned into a thunderous roar,
What a girl! She had won! What a sight!!

Lakes Erie and Huron were over and done,
Only three more Lakes left to cross.
Michigan's crossing was really a tough one,
But Superior? Vicki was boss!

For the final Lake, we were there on the sand
To cheer as she waded in,
Then drove to Toronto to give her a "hand"
Not a doubt in our minds, she would win.

For Handicapped Children, a Pool will be built,
With the money that Vicki has raised.
She accomplished her dream, she gave to the hilt.
Her efforts can only be praised.

She's done what a lot of our Members have not,
She certainly has what it takes.
When the weather was fair, and when it was not,
She conquered the Five Great Lakes!!!

The Scotia Blue and the Abigail II
Are proud to have played our parts,
In this gallant swimmer's special "crew"
For Vicki - who won our hearts!!

Mary Sutherland
1928-1989



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Created: 16th April 2000
Last Updated: 21st March 2003