Guelph scholar hopes to swim throughout two of the Nice Lakes this summer time

A University of Guelph student hopes weather will be on her side as she attempts swims across both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario this summer.

Last year, Coralee Allaert intended to swim the 30 km across the smaller Lake Erie but when repeated attempts were stopped by stormy weather, she eventually had to settle for an equidistant swim in a Mississauga pool.

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The 22-year-old is hoping for better weather for her first planned lake crossing this weekend as she attempts to cross Lake Erie from Sturgeon Point in New York State to Crystal Beach in the Niagara region.

“I’m ready to swim across these Great Lakes, putting one stroke in front of the other,” Allaert stated. “It’s been a long wait with all the weather-related cancellations last year.”

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If the Kitchener resident can successfully complete this weekend’s journey, she will try to take on the bigger Lake Ontario in August, swimming from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto.

“We’ll see how it goes. I mean, thinking about it, it’s overwhelming, to be honest,” Allaert told Global News.

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The University of Guelph student said that it is not easy to forecast how long the swims will take.

“I mean, you can’t be specific on time of how long it would take you to get across because you have various conditions that can happen,” she explained, noting that the current could play a large part in how long she will be in the water.

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“But I think for Erie, my coaching staff was saying the realistic goal of me getting across is between seven to eight and a half, maybe nine hours. And that for Lake Ontario, I think that projection is between 20 to 22 hours.”

Allaert is hoping to raise money for, a charitable organization which aims to help young people “identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health in their communities.”

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Her 30-km indoor swim last year raised around $6,500 for the charity and she is hoping to raise that total to $30,000 with this year’s crossing attempts. (Those that wish to aid the cause can donate online.)

Allaert’s journey to swim across the two Great Lakes actually began in part because of her own struggles with mental health issues.

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She said that she reached out to a mentor as she was struggling with bouts of depression and looking for ways to channel her energy.

“I was asking him, ‘how do I channel my energy into something more positive?'” she said. “And him knowing me for periods of my life, he suggested this challenge to me. And since then, I’d been trying to make this challenge a reality.”

The former wrestler turned marathon swimmer is in the pool training six days a week these days as she prepares for her lengthy time in the water.

“I’m averaging about 20 to 35 kms a week in the water,” she said. “It’s pretty intense but then there’s other weeks where I’m averaging 60 kilometers a week in a pool.”

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Her journey as a marathon swimmer will not stop once she has crossed two of the Great Lakes as she plans for bigger conquests down the road.

“The goal is to do all five (Great Lakes) and then eventually, when I’ve become more experienced as a marathon swimmer, the goal is to do Catalina in the English Channel,” she said. “But we’re talking 10 years down the road for those ones, if I want to do those.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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