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Marathon swim ends in disappointment and near tragedy

Swim across Lake Nipissing aborted with only two kilometres to go
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Korzekwa back on board a boat after aborting her swim only two kilometres from shore. Photo courtesy Facebook.

A long 14-hour swim nearly turned to tragedy last night for Marilyn Korzekwa and her team. 

The Hamilton-based swimmer failed to complete her 28 kilometre swim across Lake Nipissing which began in Campbell's Bay early Wednesday morning. 

The swim turned dangerous with less than three kilometres to go as they approached Marathon Beach in North Bay. 

"Having to stop the swim within two kilometres from shore was a very heartbreaking decision for Marilyn and her crew," said Anne Taylor, one of the swim organizers. 

"When the strong winds and high waves caused both dinghies and the kayak to overturn putting their occupants in the water in the dark, it turned the swim into a rescue mission and safety issue."

Other team members confirmed via social media that despite the scare, everyone returned from the swim safely. 

See related: Weather not going to stop marathon swimmer

The Hamilton-based psychiatrist Marilyn Korzekwa had challenged herself to become just the second person to swim that 28-kilometer stretch of Lake Nipissing which was expected to end this evening between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Marathon Beach in North Bay. 

Christine Lafontaine remains the only person to cross Lake Nipissing. Her successful swim occurred in August of 1998 to coincide with the Heritage Festival and Air show. Lafontaine was a swimmer with the North Bay Titans and Thunderbirds. The swim raised $10,000 for North Bay's planned aquatic centre

Organizers decided to push the start to Wednesday due to Monday's uncertain forecast which included the threat of thunderstorms. 

Korzekwa, who started her swim Wednesday at 7:16 a.m., had given herself a window between September 1 to 5 hoping for one good day to complete the swim after postponing the swim from earlier this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This swim is also a fundraiser for the Nipissing Trackers (a local downhill ski program for special needs children) and donations can be made through Nipissing Association for Disabled Youth at 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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