Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

Shelagh Freedman

Shelagh was at Queens University in Kingston at the time of the 1994 dedication of the plaque at Niagara-on-the-lake; however, her father was able to attend the ceremony and is seen here proudly displaying a picture of Shelagh.

At age 17, Shelagh Freedman crossed Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-lake to Marilyn Bell Park in 26 hours 3 minutes on 12-13 August 1993.

Due to an early stomach issue within 3 hours, and significant shoulder pain in the latter half of the swim, this was to become a really challenging swim for Shelagh; however, with great determination and the support of a highly-qualified crew she conquered The Lake.

The swim started at 9:13 pm and the conditions throughout were ideal with no wind:
* The water temperature started at 20-deg.C, remained at 20-21-deg.C for the next 10 hours and rose to 22-23-deg.C for the final 12 hours.
* There were no reports of the air temperature.

After just 2.5 hours, Shelagh encountered significant stomach sickness that lasted for about 5 minutes, before returning briefly after a further 30 minutes; however, this problem did not affect her for the remaining 23 hours.
Throughout the swim, she employed a variety of foods/drinks that included Strawberry Boost, CarboPower, hot chocolate, peaches and corn syrup, chicken soup, fruit cocktail, electrolytes, and a chocolate bar.

Shoulder Pain:

  • Shelagh's major problem during the swim started after about 14 hours when shoulder issues began to slow her Stroke Rate which had started at 60 strokes per minute (spm) and had settled to 52 spm.
  • By the 16 hour mark, with 9.5 miles still to go, she was experiencing significant shoulder pain; her stroke rate had dropped to 40 spm and the pain had become almost intolerable at the 19-hour mark. During this period, Shelagh was administered separate servings of Advil (Twice) and Tylenol (Once).
  • At the 17-hour stage Vicki Keith and Carlos Costa had joined the team and Vicki was able to provide some extra words of encouragement to Shelagh.
  • At 19 hours, Carlos was trying to persuade Shelagh to swim one-arm freestyle; however, within 30 minutes Shelagh had resorted back to breaststroke.
  • An attempt to return to freestyle lasted for about one-hour at 42 spm; however, from the 21-25-hour points, Shelagh had to return to breaststroke.

Pacers and Safety:

  • After 7 hours, with flat-calm conditions, Shelagh had the benefit of a pacer for an hour.
  • At 10 hours, a pacer lasted for only 15 minutes due to the pacer getting cold !
  • Marilyn Korzekwa acted as a pacer for an hour-plus at the 11-hour and 15.5-hour marks.
  • Carlos helped to pace at the 17-hour point, and then both Carlos and Colleen Shields joined her to ensure Safety coverage from the 22-25-hour marks.

CREW A very competent crew accompanied Shelagh:
Swim Master: Colleen Shields
Coach: Marilyn Korzekwa
Pacers: Colleen Shields, Carlos Costa, Marilyn Korzekwa
Vicki Keith

Shelagh had the additional crew-support of her uncle who was an MD.

Shelagh served on SSO's Board of Directors in 1994, 2002 and 2020 and in 2021 took on the position of Treasurer.

Data extracted from the official SSO Swim Master report
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Created: 8th December 1998
Last Updated: 28th April 2021