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blog Solo Swims Official Swim Master Report <p>NAME OF SWIMMER:          Thie Convery </p>
<p>AGE and DATE OF BIRTH:    44 years; July 24, 1966</p>
<p>DATE OF SWIM:                   August 7, 2010</p>
<p>LAKE(S) SWUM; STROKE:  Lake Ontario; freestyle</p>
<p>Gazebo, Niagara-on-the-Lake  43<sup>o </sup>15.470N; 079<sup>o</sup>04.117W  </p>
<p>SWIM START TIME: 9:38 a.m.</p>
<p>22.7 km out in the middle of Lake Ontario 43<sup>o </sup>25.954N; 079<sup>o</sup>12.717W</p>
<p>SWIM FINISH TIME: 7:10 p.m.         </p>
<p> TOTAL SWIM TIME: 9 hours 32 minutes</p>
<p> DISTANCE SWUM:               About 24 km</p>
<p> NAME OF COACH:               Karin Hornblower</p>
<p> SWIM MASTERS:                  Marilyn Korzekwa; assisted by Debbie Bang</p>
<p> BOAT # 1:  Lisa Charles, 55 foot diesel fishing tug; Jim Sidddall,</p>
<p> BOAT # 2:  Wishbone, 26 foot sailboat; Tim Ramm,</p>
<p> BOAT # 3:  Stress Free, 41 foot diesel Bayliner; Ken Ducharme,</p>
<p> </p>
<p>In 25 years of Swim Mastering, this was my most difficult weather start decision. Starting August 4, each 6 hourly forecast painted a different picture of the winds for the weekend. Furthermore, each of the 3 information sources, Environment Canada (EC), US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and could never agree on the wind predictions. It seems there were 3 weak weather systems passing through the region, not posing a thunder risk, but causing shifting winds. The swim was scheduled to start Friday Aug. 6 at 6 pm, but high northwesterly wind predictions and small craft warning led to postponement to Saturday Aug.7. The Friday 6:30 pm forecast from EC predicted variable 10 knots winds for Saturday morning, SW 10 near noon, up to SW 15 in the afternoon and light winds on Sunday. In addition, NOAA and sail-flow predicted 15-22 knot SW winds starting late Sunday morning, so the only feasible 24 hour window for the weekend started Saturday morning. Confusing the picture were the low wave predictions, which were consistently 1 meter or less from EC and maximum 2 feet from NOAA.</p>
<p>            There was also the issue of an under 10 degree Celsius water temperature near Toronto from the satellite map, but it was reasoned that the southwest wind would push the warm water back in that direction. Grimsby buoy was reading 23 degrees.</p>
<p>            Weather at 6 am on Saturday prior to departure: EC said that the afternoon winds would build to 15-20 knots SW, but NOAA said under 10 knots and sail-flow said 10-15. Waves were still less than a meter.</p>
<p>            Thie was determined to swim, despite this Swim Masters predictions that her chances of success were less than 50%. “I have nothing to lose”. She had assembled a flotilla of very large seaworthy boats (diesel powerboats 41 and 55 feet, sailboat 26 feet, and Zodiacs 14 and 18 feet [Hamilton Beach Rescue Unit]), the swim was superbly organized, she had done well in 1 meter waves on Lake Erie, and it was determined that even if the wind blew in her favour at 15 knots for a few hours but the waves stayed under 1 meter, it might be doable. </p>
<p>            Thie started at 9:38:46 am. The Niagara sand bar was choppier than usual, with waves of almost 1 meter. As soon as we got out of the river, waves of over 1 meter from the NW hit us for about half an hour. Then the wind and waves died down and it was actually quite calm with residual small rollers for about 5 hours. Curiously, at about the 8 km mark, the water turned abruptly from silty to dark and clear. Perhaps the previous north wind had made this demarcation between river and lake water so sharp.          </p>
<p>Unfortunately, at about 1600 hours, the southwest wind started to whip up and create whitecaps. The waves built up over the next hour to around 1 meter. The downwind Zodiac was having difficulty staying close to Thie.  She could not tolerate the fumes from an upwind Zodiac, even though they were both 4 stroke engines. There was difficulty with the pacer being thrown too close to Thie by the waves. When the wind started gusting over 15 knots, the Zodiac was 2 or more waves away from Thie at least 30% of the time, and the waves grew to over 1 meter. This was becoming a safety issue, and would have been clearly untenable in the dark. While we were listening to the 6:30 pm EC forecast, which predicted ongoing winds of up to 20 knots and a small craft advisory, the “Free Spirit” 41 foot Bayliner reported that they were having extreme difficulty with the waves and requested permission to leave the flotilla. We made the decision at 6:45 pm to end the swim, but spent some time trying to organize the evacuation. Thie probably swam another half to 3/4 km beyond the measured GPS distance (22.7 km) at 6:45. Therefore, she was probably only a kilometer or 2 shy of the halfway point. Thie was in good shape and was able to step out of the Zodiac onto the swim platform herself. The doctor checked her out and her vitals were all normal, temperature 37.5 deg C.</p>
<p>            Thie swam strongly without complaint throughout the swim. The fluctuation in hourly split times is mostly accounted for by currents and winds. She fought a good fight but Mother Nature did not cooperate.</p>
<p>            Captain Tim in the sailboat did a fine job of trying to keep Thie on the line to MB Park, despite the wind having a westerly component for most of the swim. At the end he was steering 45 compass points further west than the course line. He also readjusted his position whenever necessary, without being asked, so that he was a comfortable distance and angle in front of Thie. Despite this excellent support, she was slowly slipping from the course line and would have ended up at Vicki Keith point. Captain Jim of the Lisa Charles, which has a very wide beam, did an excellent job of staying close behind Thie and communicating with freighters and the Coast Guard. Captain Ken of the Stress Free, unfortunately had to hang back in order to fight the waves head on.</p>
<p>            Debbie Bang did an excellent job as assistant Swim Master, contributing valuable observations and wise advice. She is more than ready to be a Swim Master.</p>
<p>            Safety issues were limited to the usual ones encountered in high waves. Transfer of crew was extremely dangerous in the last 2 hours. A crew member got a nasty bruise when her leg got caught between boats. Unfortunately, the Swim Master’s orders to cease crew transfer after Thie was evacuated went on deaf ears as people scrambled to get themselves and their belongings onto the boat of preferred destination. Also the driver of the 18 foot rigid hull Zodiac with 60hp motor, wanted to drive the boat unaccompanied by another boat to Port Credit. He did have enough gas, a VHF radio and excellent shoreline visibility. Eventually he agreed with the Swim Master’s plan to follow the Stress Free to Toronto (Leslie St. spit). Unfortunately (after the Lisa Charles was already motoring back to Port Weller), we could see from a distance that he had swung by the Stress Free to drop people off and then he headed to Port Credit unaccompanied. We later learned that he made it in good time, but the waves were brutal at around 1.5 meters. Incidentally, there was a May Day outside of Port Credit around 1930 hours, a 24 foot boat taking on water that was successfully rescued by the Coast Guard.</p>
<p>Respectfully submitted, Marilyn Korzekwa</p>
<p>August 8, 2010</p>
Sun, 26 Dec 2010 18:04:29 +0000
Ramesh Ferris shares his message for a Polio-free world, and he shares his support for Thie's Swim To End Polio! <h2><img class="left" src="" width="440" height="440" alt="" title=""/>Rotarian and Polio Survivor Ramesh Ferris hand cycled 7110 km across Canada in 2008 in an event known as Cycle to Walk. </h2>
<p><strong><a href=""><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Cycle to Walk</span></a></strong> aims to raise funds and awareness to forward the global eradication of polio, to educate about the continuing need for immunization against polio and to support the rehabilitation of polio survivors in poor countries.</p>
<p>Ramesh's contributions to the global Polio eradication efforts are ongoing: he is continuing his mission en route to the goal of raising one million dollars through the <a href="">C2W</a> program.</p>
<p><img class="left" src="" width="298" height="223" alt="" title=""/></p>
<p> Thie had the opportunity to meet Ramesh last month at the annual <a href="">Rotary International</a> Convention in Montreal.  And, since that time, Ramesh has offered his support and gratitude to Thie and her team’s efforts to continue the ongoing challenge of eradicating polio.</p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Ramesh writes:</p>
<p>“The World Health Organization predicts that an additional 10 million children will be paralyzed over the next 40 years if we choose not to continue the fight against polio. As a polio survivor, a Rotarian, Canadian and a member of our global community I congratulate Thie Convery and all those on her support team with her courageous efforts to swim across Lake Ontario in order to raise funds and awareness to End Polio Now! Your efforts serve as a reminder and send a message to fellow Canadians and other members of our Global Community that polio is not an issue of the past, it is an issue of the present. At this moment Parents and Children around the world will continue to live in fear of polio and the death and paralysis it will cause, this will only end unless we as global citizens eradicate it once and for all! Thie Convery, you truly are a global citizen. Thank-you!!”</p>
<p><img class="left" src="" width="183" height="214" alt="" title=""/></p>
<p>We are getting closer to eradicating Polio because of the efforts of people like Ramesh and Thie! Join us.  Read about Ramesh's journey across Canada in his book <a href="">Better than a Cure, One Man's Journey to Free the World of Polio</a> , and <a href="">Support the Swim To End Polio</a>, today!<a href=""> </a></p>
Thu, 22 Jul 2010 19:29:20 +0000
Marilyn Bell Park: Seeing The Finish Line <p>A few weeks ago Thie headed to Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto, Ontario in order to get a view of her finish line. After a brief swim she found the Marilyn Bell Park dedication plaque.</p>
<object width="425" height="350" data="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash">
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<p>For Thie, the completion of the Lake Ontario swim will be the culmination of a year of training and effort dedicated to a successful crossing.</p>
<p>Although Thie will cross her finish line, just as Marilyn Bell (and the other 51 successful crossers did), we are reminded that in this fight to eradicate Polio, the world is not quite there. The finish line is in sight. We are this close:</p>
<p><img class="leftAlone" src="" width="400" height="300" alt="" title=""/></p>
<p>to eradiating Polio.</p>
<p>Keep swimming, keep pushing, keep on!</p>
<p>End Polio Now!</p>
Mon, 28 Jun 2010 19:28:12 +0000
What exactly does a Lake Ontario swim crossing entail? <p>Thie will be swimming Lake Ontario beginning at Niagara-on-the-Lake and completing her swim at Marilyn Bell Park (~52 km) in Toronto.</p>
<p>You can <a href=",-79.302063&spn=0.697595,1.167297&z=9&source=embed" target="_blank">view the Google Maps view of the swim here</a>.</p>
<p>Solo Swims of Ontario is a volunteer organization that sanctions and assists aspiring swimmers in their attempts to cross any of the Great Lakes. For the duration of the swim, the swimmer is accompanied by a flotilla of boats and a crew that includes a Swim Master (a Solo Swims assigned expert who is in charge of the safety of the swimmer and the technical aspects of the swim from start to finish), a navigator, the swimmer’s coach and pace swimmers, a number of small boat/zodiac drivers, a physician and several lifeguards, and other key individuals needed to make the swim happen.</p>
<p>From the time the swimmer enters the water, to the time that the swim is completed, contact with the swimmer is not allowed. The swimmer will take in specific nutrients over the course of the swim, (Thie will be feeding every 20 minutes or so), passed to her in squeeze bottles etc. and will tread water or float on her back for the 20 seconds of feeding. How long will the swim take? Most of the 52 successful crossings to date have taken place between 15 and 24 hours. Yes, Thie will be swimming continuously for that much time!</p>
<p>For more information on Lake Ontario Swims and other swims, the Solo Swims of Ontario website is here: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>
Mon, 28 Jun 2010 19:16:57 +0000
Eradicating polio one child at a time; in her mind’s eye Thie sees children whose names she does not know <p><img class="left" src="" width="251" height="191" alt="" title=""/>When asked what keeps a marathon swimmer going, Thie Convery talks about the children. The goal of polio eradication truly is a ‘one child at a time’ process. While swimming countless strokes and spending many hours in the (often) cold water, Thie envisions the children receiving the drops of the polio vaccine into their mouths, forever ensuring that they will not succumb to the Polio virus. Fellow Rotarians have forwarded Thie photos of Polio victims that have been taken on National Immunization Days and those images (and others found at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>) are powerful reminders, and offer great motivation for Thie as she trains to cross Lake Ontario this summer ... END POLIO NOW!</p> Thu, 10 Jun 2010 00:08:46 +0000 Welcome To Our Brand New Blog <p>We're gathering the content for the blog and getting it ready to put up live. We look to be doing this in the next few days, and then after our plan is to update this section regularly.</p> Tue, 11 May 2010 15:31:46 +0000