Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

Anita Morrow's Swim of Hope

A True Inspiration


Not all swims are successful but a number of those swims certainly warrant a detailed recording.

Anita Morrow's BREASTSTROKE swim to cross Lake Ontario in 2005 involved a massive effort of more than 14 hours against the worst of the Lake's currents and, as such, is certainly one of those noteworthy swims; however, her associated fund-raising efforts for "The Gatehouse, Child Abuse Advocacy Centre" are a true reflection of her Heart, along with her ongoing concerns and drive for the well-being of everyone.

Anita's story has four main aspects to it:
* The Gatehouse Project "Swim of Hope story"
* The Training and Lake Cecebe.
* Lake Ontario Test Swim.
* The belief-challenging venture "To Cross The Lake"


The Gatehouse "Swim of Hope"

The fund-raising brochure provided a tremendous, concise statement of Anita's background and desire to support their cause. The following is quoted from their brochure that advertised the swim.

"As a young girl in Romania, Anita Morrow was an avid swimmer. In adolescence Anita found that her chosen sport of competitive swimming was a welcome respite from her turbulent life, but it was not until the summer of 2003, after she had been living in Canada for some time, that Anita was able to finally confront the abuse that had plagued her in her younger years."

For those that have had the honour to know her, Anita's ties to her husband Scott and their dog(s) have been a perfect reflection of her universal Love. Sadly, our dogs have a shorter life-span than we do.

It is a common sad fact that the url Internet-links for many of the these short-term charity-raising projects disappear shortly after the projects are over.



Lake Cecebe Training Swims, 4 & 18 June 2005

Anita swam for many hours in indoor pools in preparation for the open-water season, and on June 4, 2005 completed a 7-hour, 10 km swim on Lake Cecebe where she and her husband owned a cottage .

Lake Cecebe is located to the east of Georgian Bay of the Canadian Great lakes.

Her first serious preparatory open-water swim with her assigned Swim Master, Bryan Finlay, took place at the same location and over the same course on Lake Cecebe on 18th June 2005. This swim was conducted as her official SSO 6-hour Trial Swim. Her 10.1 km course is illustrated in the adjacent image and, starting at 11:35 am, she completed the distance in 6 hours 4 minutes.

CREW: Scott Morrow, Arthur Henes, Shelley Reid, Bryan Finlay (Swim Master), and Matisse (Anita and Scott's faithful dog).
EQUIPMENT: 4 m-long Inflatable, and 5 m Power Boat.
COURSE (Key Points):
* Marina (45.651800-deg.N, 79.579125-deg.W);
* End of Lake (45.621417-deg.N, 79.526505-deg.W);
* Point 4 (45.634175-deg.N, 79,561188-deg.W)
* Point 5 (45.6475500-deg.N, 79.647550-deg.W)
* Finish ( 45.646348-deg.N, 79.577793-deg.W)

Air 16-20-deg,C. Water 18-22-deg.C. Water surface ranged from flat to choppy (15 cm waves). Breaststroke Stroke-Rate 23-28 per minute.

This event was a successful Training swim that led to a planning meeting on July 8 for an official Trial Swim on Lake Ontario. As a result of the enthusiasm at that Planning Meeting, a special poem "Beacon of Hope" was written for Anita.


Lake Ontario Test Swim

To ensure that her boat crews were well coordinated for her planned Grimsby-to-Oakville attempt, she completed a swim on July 23 along the final 7.2 miles (11.5 km) of the planned course into Coronation Park.

In this swim, Anita swam at a rate of just better than 1 mph to complete the distance in 7 hours. She encountered some problems with cap and goggles but these issues were less than on her Trial Swim; however, the 38' lead sailboat encountered some overheating due to the slow speed and it was a perfect chance to resolve these issues before the main swim.



Lake Ontario: Swim of Hope

The planned 33 km course was from Nelles Beach Park (Grimsby, Ontario) to Coronation Park (Oakville, Ontario).

38' sailboat "Teddy Graham" (Paul, John, Lilly); "Dot Calm" sailboat (Kevin Dunal, D'Arcy, Linda, Marina) and 2 inflatables.
Swim Masters: Christine Taylor & Bryan Finlay. Coaches: Scott Morrow & Bryan Finlay. Others: Arthur Henes, Shelley Reid, and Irina Gheorghui.

The swim started at 18:00:33 hours with a full moon and excellent water and air temperatures that were fairly consistent throughout the swim and were both around 21-deg.C. Anita started to report some knee pain at the 4.5-hour mark. While there was little-to-no wind for the first 9 hours, it soon became obvious that Anita was swimming against a surface-current; however, it wasn't until after the swim ended that the satellite images could be downloaded and revealed the significant magnitude of those surface currents which appeared to peak at around 0.9 knots (1 mph) !

Note: The general movement of the water of the lake is variable and reflects the actions of wind and thermal gradients in prior days. While these surface currents are generally less that 0.25 mph, under certain weather conditions they may be much larger. Due to the inertia of the water's movement, the currents persist even in the absence of the wind. So an apparently calm lake can have its surface moving at a significant rate.
Consequently, after 13 hours, Anita had only travelled 4.5 miles, even though her stroke-rate and its strength was normal - 21-22 per minute for 8 hours and increased to 25-26 spm to try to combat the currents.
* WNW (head-on) winds had developed at that stage, along with white-topped waves up to 1 m in height.
* At that stage the GPS started to show that she was being pushed backwards - a situation that persisted for 33 minutes.
* This development was discussed with the swimmer who, understandably, was greatly dismayed.
* In the absence of the satellite data on the currents, it was decided to terminate the swim BUT to swim back towards Grimsby to tests the Swim Master's hypothesis about the currents, which was confirmed when Anita covered 1.22 miles in 52.5 minutes.
* She then retired and climbed, without aid, onto the lead boat.

In that evening, a reception had been organized at the intended finish at Coronation Park, Oakville.
* Tony Dekker and his group "Great Lake Swimmers" performed at that ceremony.
* The group's name "Great Lake Swimmers" formed the title track of their first album in 2003.
* It can be heard as the 2016 background music for Loren King's Lake Ontario video and, with its chorus "It's such a long swim. It's such a long swim, It's such a long swim", the song has a haunting sound that is so reflective of a long night-and-day in crossing the lake. The lyrics can be accessed in full online.

The Swim Master's files on Anita's preparations and final swim are filled with documents-of-preparation and spreadsheets that Anita and her crew had created for each of the phases of training and preparation. It is so sad that such efforts and intensive preparations can be thwarted so easily by Nature . . . . BUT act to show how well Anita approaches any of her Life's Ventures.

President of the Channel Swimming Association, Michael Read, stated a number of rules in a documentary video and one rule was that "The Channel is not your friend".
* Anita disagreed with this statement - in terms of her association with Lake Ontario - and maintained that "We just don't understand it".
* An attempt to capture her feelings was made in a poem "My Friend The Lake".

A number of news articles were written about Anita's swim; however, it is quite common for such news reports to be lost in later years as the individual newspapers close-down or get absorbed by larger bodies. Two pre-swim news-articles from 19 Aug 2005 have been copied to PDF and are available to view:
* Oakville Beaver - reporter Howard Mozel.
* The Etobicoke Guardian - reporter Tamara Shephard.


The Aftermath

Although Anita did not complete her intended crossing of Lake Ontario, it is interesting that this swim is a Record for longest time recorded by SSO for a Breaststroke swim on Lake Ontario.

Her achievement was notable in that her drive and enthusiasm are so infectious, which was reflected in a subsequent post-swim celebration with all of the participants.

In 2016, Anita went on to form a highly successful international Facebook group to embrace and encourage people with such backgrounds and interests - One Million Meditators.

Forever Irrepressible - Anita Morrow !

Compiled from: News Media reports: the Swim Master's documents/reports,
Anita's training/preparation documents, and photographs provided by Anita and her crew
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Created: 30th May 2020
Last Updated: 11th July 2020