Ultra-marathon Swim Across Lake Huron
Raising awareness about drowning prevention and water safety, while raising funds for the Lifesaving Society's Swim to Survive program!
Over 500 children will receive free Swim to Survive training!
Lesley Burton Zehr and the SEALS Swim to Survive Event Crew hit the waters of Lake Huron for the 75 km Crossing on July 19, 2014. After 15 hours and 48 minutes of battling confused winds, high waves and cold temperatures the crossing attempt was abandoned at 35.5 kms to maintain the safety of swimmer and crew.
The event to date has raised $12,000 for Swim to Survive programs!
Read an article posted by the Lifesaving Society of Ontario on the event:
Lesley recounts the swim on her blog:
Click on the "Donate Now" button to place a donation
chose "SEALS Swim to Survive" from the menu.
Lesley Burton Zehr – HER story
Thirty year old Wingham native, former competitive swimmer, National Lifeguard and Lifesaving Society Instructor is taking on Lake Huron this summer. Lesley is the Client Services Coordinator for the Corporation of the City of Waterloo, RIM Park and a Team Lead for Country Paws Boarding
, the perfect dog hotel for your canine companion. When Lesley is not working she spends her time with her family and trains for marathon swims.
Lesley started swimming as an infant, and continued on to competitive swimming for 24 years. She started with swimming lessons at first and later took part in Wingham’s summer swim team. At age 8, Lesley moved onto year-round competitive swimming with the Huron Hurricanes Aquatic Club. While attending Camp Ak-o-mak where there was a focus on open water and distance swimming, she really enjoyed the experience of open water! When her competitive pool swimming came to an end, Lesley started to compete in triathlons and was a member of a relay swim that crossed Lake Huron in 2001. For Lesley, “there is a level of serenity swimming in open water in Ontario’s outdoors.”
Lesley is inspired by her family and specifically by her step-sons, Taylor and Braedon Zehr. Being able to help children and families in the community is very important to her. Being able to capture their attention to learn more about drowning prevention and to keep their loved ones safe in and around the water.
Lake Huron – HER lake
Lake Huron was the popular summer destination. Growing up around it, going to the beach anywhere on Lake Huron, was a fun filled family memory for her. Now that she is a parent, her family continues to have great Lake Huron memories. And she wants to be able to help other families continue to have these fun family vacations and memories that last forever.
Lesley has been training since the fall of 2012. The event was originally scheduled to take place the summer of 2013, so training has been extended this year. It has consisted of many hours in the pool then into open water swim training, as well as cross training and weight training at GoodLife Fitness. Since the swim could be 40 hours in length, she has also worked on training her body and mind to stay awake and activity for 40 hours at a time, such as sleep deprivation training.
Lesley says what drives her is that “knowing that I am doing this for the community and making sure that I can give my best performance/effort during the swim. Oh, and food! My motto over the last few weeks of long distance training is - will swim for food”.
WHY Swim to Survive (to raise funds for)
Lesley believes that “swimming should be taught as a life skill to all children, much like fire safety and learning to cross the road. Learning about the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to Survive programs, which teach the basic skills to survive an unexpected fall into deep water, I felt this is such a valuable program that all Ontarians should have the opportunity to attend. “
TheBig SEALS SWIM days away
Lesley is very excited and anxious that the event is nearly here! There are still details to follow up with, right through until start time, as the swim is completely weather and water condition dependent. For Lesley “making sure Water Smart decisions are made is paramount. The forefront of my mind is what will Mother Nature deal us!”
WHYa Marathon Swim
Lesley started this initiative “to help heighten awareness about drowning prevention in Ontario as fatalities have increased year after year.” She strongly believes if she “can get anything across to families, it would be that taking the preventative steps in and around water does save lives. Prevention = Life”
SEALS Swim a Celebration
As a former lifeguard, Lesley is also celebrating the 50 anniversary of our National Lifeguards. Honouring the lives National Lifeguards have saved throughout the years across Canada.
In 1964 - the year the National Lifeguard Service was officially launched - 113 Ontarians were certified. Today, Ontario communities are protected by over 160,000 individuals who hold National Lifeguard certifications.
During 50th anniversary year, we salute and celebrate our National Lifeguards and the key role they play in keeping Ontarian’s safe … they are Canada's unsung heroes. Unsung, since lifeguards prevent the vast majority of incidents from happening in the first place. And unsung, because when they do respond, they’re just doing the job they were trained to do. Even when they’re not on the job!
National Lifeguards train long and hard for something they hope will never happen. We know this training pays off in supervised facilities – our drowning statistics prove it. But the training pays off beyond the pool deck or the supervised waterfront – in communities throughout the country. Canada’s National Lifeguards are making a difference everywhere, every day. Like the lifeguard whose training all came back to her when she did a double rescue in a community swimming hole. Or the lifeguard who revived an unresponsive child floating face down in a private pool. Or the lifeguard who was first on the scene at a car accident and used their first aid skills to stabilize and assure the victim until EMS arrived.
It’s engrained in their mind and their actions. Lifeguards embody the Lifesaving Society’s motto: “Whomsoever you see in distress, recognize in him a fellow man.” Share and celebrate with us our National Lifeguards!
Check out our "About Us" page to find out more about Swim to Survive standards.
SEALS Swim updates
25 km Lake Huron Shoreline Swim, Bayfield - Goderich Ontario
Lesley completed the 25 km solo swim in 7 hours and 5 minutes on Monday August 5th. The swim was to raise awareness about drowning prevention and water safety.
Unfavourable forecasts, water conditions and safety logistics forced Lesley Burton Zehr to postpone her planned 75 km swim across Lake Huron to July 2014.