Kingston 14-year-old swims across Lake Erie
Kingston's Natalie Lambert has conquered Lake Erie.
The 14-year-old swam across the lake this weekend, going from Crystal Beach in Fort Erie to Sturgeon Point Marina in Derby, New York. She finished the swim on Sunday.
The successful crossing makes her the youngest swimmer to traverse the lake and the first to do it using the gruelling butterfly stroke. The weekend's calm, warm weather led to near-perfect conditions for the 20-kilometre swim, which took Lambert eight hours to complete.
Lambert was inspired to make the swim after watching her older sister Jenna, who has cerebral palsy, swim across the eastern leg of Lake Ontario in 2006.
"(Cerebral palsy is) a physical disability that makes her muscles tighter than mine but she's never let that stop her," Lambert told CTV Toronto. "She always says the only disability is a bad attitude."
Called the "Swim the Distance Marathon," all the money raised will go to the Y Knot Abilities Programs at her local YMCA. The unique programs allow children with physical disabilities to learn competitive swimming and participate in other sports alongside their able-bodied siblings.
The programs are run by legendary marathon swimmer Vicki Keith, who is also Lambert's coach. Keith told CTV that Lambert is one of the best marathon swimmers she's seen.
"She can handle anything," Keith said.
Last August, Lambert became the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario, taking 24 hours to complete the crossing from Sacket's Harbor, New York to Kingston. That year, she raised $44,000 for the charity.
Lambert will attempt to cross Lake Ontario once again at the end of the month, this time swimming from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto. The swim is expected to take between 20 and 24 hours to complete.
With a report by CTV Toronto's Galit Solomon