* Youngest Swimmer to cross Lake Erie, 2016-2020
Michaela Arsenault (a student from St. Catharines, Ontario), at age 14 years and 21 days, made her impact on marathon swimming with her Age-Record-Breaking crossing of Lake Erie on 18 June 2016. She swam Butterfly for the whole swim and so became one of only two swimmers to cross the lake using the tough Butterfly stroke.
Michaela comes from an accomplished open-water swimming family. Her mother, Christine Arsenault and older sister, Trinity, have both swum Lake Ontario. Trinity swam from Sturgeon Point to Crystal Beach in June 2014 at 14 years and 34 days to become the youngest SSO-sanctioned Lake Erie swimmer.
Lake Erie, 2016:
Michaela made her open-water swimming debut only 21 days after becoming 14 years old - a safety requirement set by many marathon-swimming organizations including Solo Swims of Ontario; however, she was not content to pursue the record of being the youngest Lake Erie swimmer, she wanted to swim the 19.1 km width of Lake Erie in the tough butterfly stroke. She conducted a lot of early season training in the Welland canal, Gulliver's Lake and Lake Ontario. She also trained for a week in the Florida Keys in March, swimming butterfly 4-6 hours a day in waves. She did a 7.75 km trial swim in Gulliver's Lake using Butterfly on May 23 in 3:25, with a water temperature of 63-65-deg.F.
Her Erie crossing started at 8:31 a.m. from Sturgeon Point, NY. She started at a pace of about 2 km/h and then settled into a pace of 1.6 km/h. When the waves got up to 1/2 m and were coming from different directions, she slowed to 1 km/h. Towards the end, the wind dropped and she picked it up again to 1.4 km/h. Michaela resolutely swam butterfly the whole way, despite suggestions from her mother that she could switch to crawl. She finished at Crystal Beach, Ontario at 10:23 pm, in a time of 13:52:09.
At 14 years 21 days, she became the youngest SSO-sanctioned swimmer to cross this route, younger than her sister by 13 days. She was also 6 days younger than the youngest Lake Ontario swimmer, and thus became the youngest successful SSO-sanctioned swimmer. These records stood until 30 Aug 2020.
Lake Ontario Relay, 2015:
Michaela participated in an epic relay swim with her sister Trinity in Lake Ontario in 2015 (not SSO sanctioned). The group swimming the lake achieved a World Record for the most kilometres (90.154 km) swum in a 24 hour period (24hh 2mm 53ss) on August 31 - September 1, 2015. The swim raised funds for the charity "Canadian Tire Jumpstart foundation".
The 8-person team is shown below with manager Christine Arsenault:
L-R: Ayla Jukosky (11), Trinity Arsenault (15), Abby-gail Jones (15), Christine Arsenault (Manager), Michaela Arsenault (13), Charlie French (14), Jayson Pigeon (14), Ming Scott (17), and Alyssa Mundy (17).