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Brenda Lussier
*First Deaf Swimmer to Cross a Great Lake

Lake Erie

After 8 years of preparation and training, on 18 Jul 2015 Brenda Lussier became the first recorded Deaf Swimmer to have swum across one of the Canadian Great Lakes. At age 38, she completed an 18.6 km crossing of Lake Erie from Sturgeon Point (New York) to Crystal Beach (Ontario), in a time of 10:03.

Brenda's Lake Erie swim was aimed to support a Cystic Fibrosis. CF is a genetic condition that affects the respiratory system and threatens the life of her brother.


The water temperature was 20°C (68°F) until the last 3 km where it rose to 21.7°C. Brenda maintained 52 strokes per minute until the last 3 km where it dropped to 48-50 SPM. The winds were SW-WSW for the first 1.5-2 hours creating waves of 0.5-0.9 m, then relatively calm for the remainder of the swim. A fog rolled in after the first two hours of swimming and did not disperse until Brenda was about 3 km away from Crystal Beach.

Lake Ontario

Brenda attempted Lake Ontario on 14-15 August 2015. The Lake Erie crossing caused some injury to her right shoulder and this injury proved to be a significant problem in the final stages of her Lake Ontario swim. While the weather conditions were excellent from the start, SW winds developed as she approached Toronto. So around 8:00 am, her coach decided to change her course to land at Leslie Street Spit (Vicki Keith Point); however, with the adverse winds and her limited shoulder strength she was being driven to the east and past LSS. Consequently, with no hope left for making landfall, Brenda made the agonizing decision to retire.

This was a tremendously courageous swim, requiring extra vigilance from the crew to ensure the safety of a deaf swimmer - especially during the darkness of night.

Brenda`s 26 hour 16 minute swim covered a straight-line distance of 40.8 km and earned her a special mention in the 24-Hour-Club listing.

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