Toronto, July 28 IANS | 1 year ago

Freezing temperatures, thunderstorm and rain have put an abrupt end to five women's ambitious 305-km relay swim across Lake Ontario in Canada.


The women, who kicked off their Because Girls Can swim Tuesday to raise money for a global girls' rights group, decided Saturday to abandon their swim after the youngest member was sent to hospital when she showed signs of hypothermia Friday, reports Xinhua.

The swimmers, who had set off to cross Lake Ontario-bounded by the Canadian province of Ontario and the American state of New York-lengthwise from Kingston to Burlington, Ontario, arrived on shore Saturday afternoon nearly 60 km short of their original goal.

Though slightly disappointed, the women were happy with their achievement.

"We're all really tired, but we're all really happy that we accomplished what we did do," 61-year-old Colleen Shields told local media.

Shields said it was disappointing, but "you can't win against Mother Nature."

It's been a gruelling journey for the group, aged 18 to 61, who spent over 80 hours in the lake.

If they had completed their original route, it would've been the first time in history a relay team swam the length of Lake Ontario.

Faced with harsh weather conditions, first a storm that delayed their swim by a full day and left them feeling seasick, and then the drop in water temperatures which led to their youngest member, 18-year-old Mona Sharari, to be pulled out of the lake Friday after showing signs of hypothermia, the group finally decided to put an early end to their journey.

"We got some really horrendous weather," 23-year-old Samantha Whiteside told the media.

"Nothing ever really seemed to work for us. It was either really warm water and ridiculous waves, or it was really calm and absolutely freezing."

But the girls aren't giving up. According to their Twitter page, they've lowered their goal to 242,000 dollars and are hoping to raise 1,000 dollar for every kilometre they swam by September.

(Posted on 28-07-2013)