This is the third and final story in a series about swimming in Lake Ontario. We hope you enjoyed this year’s swimming season!
In August, Melanie Price and her support team embarked on an epic journey: a swim across Lake Ontario. After months of training, Melanie’s goal was about to become a reality...or was it?
Melanie’s 40-kilometre swim began at midnight in Port Dalousie with a green, but determined crew. Pacers and boats by her side, Melanie crashed through waves and water all night long as she pulled towards Oakville.
With just over a kilometer to go, Melanie’s team noticed she was having trouble.
“Melanie fell asleep with less than a mile to go,” said Colleen Shields, one of Melanie’s teammates. “I have heard about people falling asleep, but have never experienced it first hand. This was a scary situation.”
As Melanie struggled to complete the last kilometre of her journey, a crowd of supporters and news crews gathered in Oakville to cheer her on. To the crowd on land, it became clear that things weren’t going according to plan. With only a few hundred metres left to swim, Melanie was being carried east by strong winds. It was clear to the crowd, and to Melanie’s team, that she wasn’t going to be landing in her planned location.
As the sun started to set, chatter set in amongst the crowd. Questions of whether or not Melanie would make it to shore without assistance were fluttering, and camera crews were trying to decide whether or not the story would make air time. Friends in Oakville lost phone communication with the team for over an hour. Everyone was on edge.
Finally, Melanie’s supporters on shore got the call: “She’s heading for the pier!”
Friends, family, medics, news reporters, and passers-by alike all hit the pavement. The goal: be there for Melanie and the team when they reached land. A group of close to 100 people ran across private lawns, through sprinklers, and past barking dogs all the way to Melanie’s pier.
Screaming, shouting, whistling, applauding, and tears of joy blasted from the group as Melanie fought her way to the rocks. With a camera crew in the water, her daughters running down the steps, and chants of “Go Melanie, Go!”, Melanie Price reached out and touched shore after 18 hours of solid swimming.
Epic journey indeed. But what was it that moved her to attempt a lake crossing in the first place?
“I decided I wanted to do a marathon swim as my next big challenge and easily decided to make it in Lake Ontario, my backyard!” said Melanie. “It just made sense. And when I connected with Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, it gave [the swim] purpose too”.