On 12th August 2011, at age 38 years and 295 days, Melanie became the FIRST PERSON to complete a Lake Ontario crossing on the route between Port Dalhousie and Oakville - a 41 km swim.
Her swim started in the early-morning hours at 12:20 am from Lakeside Park, Port Dalhousie, and was completed 18 hours 9 minutes and 24 seconds later, at 6:29 pm, when she touched the rocks at Wilder Park, 1-mile east of Coronation Park, Oakville.
In the following 11 years, 3 men completed the course (Madhu Nagaraja, Rob Kent and Robert McGlashan), but the closest to Melanie's time was Robert McGlashan's 19:49:57 - i.e. 1 hour and 40 minutes behind Melanie !
All 4 swims are honoured on the Oakville shoreline with a colourful, special, plaque that was erected through the efforts of Rob Kent in 2021.
* Swim Master: Colleen Shields
* Coach: Dave Judd
* Physician: Dr John Strang, MD
* Lifeguards: Jennifer Fisher, Dave Judd, Maisy Kent
* Boat 1: Kachina with owner Dave Lord
* Boat 2: Quarter Life Crisis with owner Tyler Shane
* Boat 3: Grimsby Auxillary Rescue Unit (GAMRU). Contact Terry Rossi
* Pacers: Denyse Cowling (38), Petra Haneberry (35), Maisy Kent (16), Fiona Lowden (50), Andrew Ullock (38), Stacey VanWart (39)
* Boat Operators: Petra Haneberry, Diane Grieve, Sharon Hughes, Bill Johnson, David Lord, Fiona Lowden, Tyler Shane, Colleen Shields
* Crew Members: Jennifer Fisher, David Judd, Maisy Kent, John Strang, Colleen Shields
At the start, the water was choppy from a NW wind that created 1-2' waves.
She fed every 45 minutes with the main ingedient being CarboPro mixed into her water, hot tea, or soup.
Water temperature warmed from 69F to at relatively steady 73F.
By midday, the air temperature had risen to 82F.
She maintained a fairly cosistent Stroke Rate of 62 SPM.
Her first pacer entered the water at 6:00 am and remained with her for an hour.
After easing during teh first 6 hours, teh winds then began to freshen again and, by 4:00 pm with 1.8 km to go, they were up to 5-10 knots and producing 1-2' waves.
At this stage, Melanie was encountering significant cross-currents and was tiring. A whistle was used to regain her attention. So, with a slight change in course and a last, intense, effort she made it to the shore to touch land in a rather, non-ideal, rocky area..
Melanie's crossing is well-expressed in her own words in a Lake Ontario Swim Team (LOST) posting and in her associated Blog.
While the start of the link may be confounded with adverts, a YouTube item gives some extra coverage to appreciate Melanie's Lake Ontario crossing.
Away from the water, Melanie has a number of other interests at which, perhaps with no surprise, she EXCELS.
She's a devoted Mother who proudly promotes the achievements of her daughters, Cadence and Dahlia, and just loves creating impressive artistic forms of cakes.
She loves Hiking and Nature and has walked many stages of the Bruce Trail that strectches between Hamilton and Georgian Bay in Ontario.
© Material supplied by Colleen Shields' Swim Master report, YouTube items and Facebook..
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Created: 3rd March 2022
Last Updated: 27th March 2022