DSC_2659 (640x419).jpg

FAQ

REGISTRATION

Q: Do I mail the Registration, Insurance forms and Fee to 302 - 980 Queenston Road, Stoney Creek, Ontario, L8G 1B9 ?
A: Yes. Address the envelope, "Attention Dr. M. Korzekwa".  Alternatively, the form can be faxed to 905 662 0440, scanned and emailed to marilyn@soloswims.org, or filled in on line.

 

Q: I do not have a swim coach to sign the Registration Form; is this OK at this time? 
A: No, we require the signature of a Coach who will be by the swimmer's side in the lifeguard boat. The "Coach" is not required to have coaching qualifications but should be experienced with open-water swimming. (See Crew for details).

 

Q: Does Solo Swims assist with Relay teams?
A: Yes. SSO sanctions Relay Teams. (There is a separate registration form for relays and see Rules for details).


Q: How soon before the swim would I need to do a Trial Swim?
A: The Trial swim should be completed in the same season as the big swim and in the same body of water (we make exceptions for swimmers not residing in southern Ontario).
. The Trial swim can be done early in the season, but we recommend the trial swim be done no later than 4 weeks before the swim. Any closer to the swim than 4 weeks may jeopardize the swimmer's ability to recover physically and may hamper their planning if the trial swim needs to be repeated. (see Trial Swim).

 

Q: My child is 12 years old and wants to swim Lake Ontario. 
A: SSO does not sanction swimmers less than 14 years old. The swimmer must be 14 at the time of completing the Trial Swim which must be completed in the calendar year of the proposed swim.
. Based upon international concerns with safety and experience with young swimmers, in 2007 SSO followed the moves of the English Channel authorities to limit SSO swims to swimmers who are 14-years and older.

 

SAFETY

Q: Where do I find boats? 
A: Swimmers generally seek boats at minimal cost from friends, family members, the charities they support, and sympathetic boat owners in local marinas, or they employ the paid services of experienced, professional charter companies who have proven previous capability of providing the required navigational support and, particularly, the required safety services. SSO does not keep an official list of captains but can make recommendations. (See Boats). 
. It was the failure of Neil McNeil (see History of SSO) to follow such Safety Considerations that led to his untimely death, and the subsequent formation of SSO.

 

Q: Do the boats really have to be 9 m (30 feet) long? 
A: Yes. Wind predictions are unreliable and the weather can change rapidly on the Great Lakes. Waves can get huge rapidly. The safety of crew in high waves is directly proportional to the size of the vessel. The Swim Master will abort the swim if the waves are unmanageable by either the lifeguard or large boats, especially if the boats cannot stay close to the swimmer or cannot see the swimmer between waves. (See Boats).

 

Q: Do I really need 2 large boats? 
A: Yes, if the boats are volunteer pleasure boaters and not professional boaters. Equipment malfunctions on long swims are very common. Furthermore, the "diamond" flotilla protects the swimmer from all 4 sides. The only exception to this rule is if the captain is experienced with marathon swims, the boat is suitable, and the SSO Board agrees to the proposed plan. (See Boats).

 

Q: Where do I find inflatable boats (Zodiacs)? 
A: SSO does not provide inflatable boats, so the advice is similar to that given above for Boats; however, there are a number of marinas and services that do rent inflatables and motors, either formally or as a part of their sales and resale operations.
Note that a typical 4 m inflatable with require at least a 9.9 HP motor for effective operation.
A few of these possible services are listed below:
Co2 Inflatables, Oakville, Ontario.
Exclusive Sport Rentals, Vaughan, Ontario.
Bridge Yachts Ltd, Port Dover, Ontario.
. Please advise the SSO Webmaster of any other known groups, along with details of your experience with their service.

 

Q: Can I do my Trial Swim at my cottage? 
A: No. For a big swim across a Great Lake, the trial swim must be done in the same (or very similar) body of water as the big swim. (See Trial Swim).

 

Q: What is the role of SSO in relation to open-water marathon swimming in Ontario? 
A: After a fatal attempt to swim across Lake Ontario in 1974 (see History of SSO), SSO was established as a Safety organization by an Order in Council to manage such open-water swims. The primary focus for SSO has been to ensure the safety of Solo swims. Maintenance of records is a secondary role.

 

Q: What is the risk of Hypothermia on a solo swim with SSO? 
A: Hypothermia is defined as body temperature below 35C, with normal body temperature being 37C. The issues of hypothermia (see Advice). 
. Water temperatures in the summer in the Great Lakes can vary from 10C (we do not sanction swims at lower temperatures) to 25C. 
. It is always possible during very long swims for a swimmer to become hypothermic, especially when the water temperature drops below 18C.
. We estimate the body temperature of about 30% of our swimmers' dips to 35C or lower during their swims.
. To prevent hypothermia, swimmers are very strongly encouraged to train in cold water and become extremely fit/acclimatized during the pre-season, optimize the calorie content and warmth of their feeds, consider applying grease, and chose a date and route that considers water temperature. 

 

Q: What is the role of the Swim Master? 
A: After the swimmer's Registration Form and fee have been received by SSO, a Swim Master is assigned and is responsible for Safety, Record Keeping and providing advice on aspects of hypothermia:
The Swim Master's duties include: 
- Works with the swimmer and their organization to ensure that the chosen boats and crew are acceptable for a safe swim (see Planning: Boats; Crew & Equipment)
- Monitors the Trial Swim and reports to the SSO Board on the outcome of the Trial Swim. The Board votes on approval of the Trial Swim.
- Ensures that the swimmer's team has any required documentation for the Toronto Port Authorities, or border authorities if the swim enters USA waters.
- Documents the weather and water conditions, the swimmer's progress and condition, along with details of the swimmer's feeding and any medications. These data are subsequently compiled as a formal report for review / approval by the SSO Board.
- The Swim Master may use a GPS to monitor the swimmer's progress, but is not responsible for setting the swimmer's course.
- In the event of bad weather or poor condition of the swimmer, the Swim Master may need to terminate the swim.
- If the swimmer uses the SSO CorTemp system for monitoring core body-temperature, then the Swim Master will record the data and discuss them, as necessary, with the swimmer's Coach and/or Medical attendant. 

 

RECORDS

Q: Who is the youngest successful swimmer?
A: Details of the ages of the swimmers who have completed specific courses may be found on our website at Records.
. Our youngest successful Male swimmer is Gregg Taylor at age 19 years 218 days, with his 19 hr 23 min, 51 km crossing of Lake Ontario from Niagara on the Lake to Marilyn Bell Park, on 13-14 Aug 2003.
. Our youngest successful Female swimmer is Julia Notebomer at age 14 years 0 days, with her 6
 hr 26 min 48 sec, 19 km butterfly crossing of Lake Erie from Sturgeon Point (New York State) to Crystal Beach, Ontario, on 30 August 2020. 

Q: Who is the oldest successful swimmer? 
A: Details of the ages of the swimmers who have completed specific courses may be found on our website at Records.
. Our oldest successful Male swimmer is Tom Bartlett at age 69 years 327 days, with his 7 hr 44 min 58 sec, 19 km crossing of Lake Erie from Crystal Beach (Ontario) Sturgeon Point (New York State), on 4 July 2016.
. Our oldest successful Female swimmer is Pat Gallant-Charette at age 66 years 209 days, with her 24:28:19, 51 km crossing of Lake Ontario from Niagara on the Lake to Marilyn Bell Park, on 29-30 Aug 2017.