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  THE QUEEN OF THE LAKES
Sports Illustrated; 9/12/1988; Wulf, Steve

Congratulations to Vicki Keith, a 27-year-old swimming instructor from Kingston, Ont., who last week became the first person to swim across all five Great Lakes. In crossing Lake Ontario on Aug. 29 and 30 -- a journey of 31.6 miles that took her 23 hours and 32 minutes -- Keith also set a women 's world endurance record for the butterfly stroke (24 miles).

Keith began her odyssey on July 1 by crossing Lake Erie (12.4 miles); she had to abandon her attempt to recross after a total of 21 miles and 20 hours. On July 18 she became the first swimmer to traverse Lake Huron, stroking 48 miles in 47 hours. On July 18 she became the first to traverse Lake Huron, stroking 48 miles in 47 hours. On July 26 she swam across Lake Michigan, doing 45 miles in 53 hours. And on Aug. 15 she became the first to swim across Lake Superior – 20 miles in 17 hours. During her five crossings, she braved water temperatures as low as 54°, bad weather and pollution. All in all, she spent more than 160 hours swimming 166 miles of the Great Lakes. “I feel good,” she said upon landing in Toronto after crossing Lake Ontario. I’m glad it’s over, though.”

Best of all, Keith’s accomplishments raised more than $240,000 for a swimming pool at Variety Village, a training and fitness center for the disabled in Scarborough, Ont.