| Aug 13, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - August 13, 2009 Harrowsmith marathon swimmer finally has her chanceby Julie Druker

Natalie Lambert entered the water early Friday morning on August 7th at Meyer's Pier at the Quinte Marina in Belleville

On Friday, August 7 at 8AM, Natalie Lambert, the 15-year-old marathon swimmer from Harrowsmith, finally had a window of good weather to make her summer marathon swim after many earlier attempts had to be cancelled.

The first swim scheduled on July 20, a 52km swim from Niagara on the Lake to Kingston was cancelled due to unseasonably cold water temperatures.

The next, an 80km swim from Oswego New York to Kingston scheduled for August 6, was abandoned before it even began because of high winds and metre-high waves that would have faced her for the entire way.

Still determined to make the swim and carry out her promised goal of raising funds for the Kingston YMCA’s Y Knot Program, Natalie and her team once again rescheduled and relocated the swim.

Lengthened to 90km, it started in Belleville at Meyer’s Pier at the Quinte Marina. The planned route would take her along the Bay of Quinte and into Lake Ontario and would finish at Lake Ontario Park in Kingston.

Things finally seemed in Natalie’s favour as she got into the water at 8AM in Belleville on Friday morning. Weather conditions were favorable and the water was warm with temperatures ranging from 70-74 degree Fahrenheit.

Natalie swam all day Friday and all through the night. When I spoke to her from her home on Sunday after the swim she recalled, “Friday night was tough. It was cold and I hit a wall but when the sun finally came up Saturday morning my hope was restored and I was able to continue on.”

Trouble came though, later that morning at the 57km mark near the Lennox Power Plant. Natalie recalled, “I had a pain in my left shoulder.” She switched strokes from freestyle to back stroke, then butterfly, then breast stroke in hopes of alleviating the pain but to no avail. She then tried stretching while treading water and took some Advil, neither of which eased the pain. In a final last ditch effort she tried swimming the next 2.5km with only her right arm and finally was forced to call it quits after 59.5km.

Natalie was not in the least disappointed by having to call off the swim. She knew in hindsight that it was definitely the right thing for her to do. ”At my age it is just not worth the risk of acquiring a serious injury. So at the time I talked to my coach, Vicki Keith, and I decided to stop the swim.”

If anything, Natalie should be proud. Her attempt was the longest swim she has made to date and it is also her fastest time, 60km in 26.5 hours, a personal best for her. She also insisted that the swim itself is not her major focus but rather the hopes of spreading far and wide the Kingston Y Knot athletics program for children with disabilities and their siblings.

Having accomplished her part of the journey, she now hands the baton to her older sister, Jenna, who is currently gearing up to meet her athletic challenge a triathlon, which will take place in September, in support of the Y Knot program,

For more information about the program and Jenna’s upcoming triathlon or to make a donation to their cause, please visit www.penguinscanfly.ca

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