Donate Now Through!

Natalie's Journey

Natalie Lambert's Swim the Difference Marathon
Natalie Lambert's Swim the Difference Marathon

Donate Now Through!
Help Support Natalie Lambert
and the Swim the Difference Marathon

August 23, 2008

1:23 PM - Natalie has come out of the water.  The cold and sore throat that she had going in to the swim, along with the fatigue of the swim, have taken a toll on her.  The flotilla is now on its way back to shore.

11:23 AM - Natalie has now swam 1/4 of the distance (13 kilometers).  Her spirits are high and her energy has picked up after her last food break.  "She seems to be swimming a bit faster", says John.  John also notes that communication is starting to become "iffy".  We may not get updates as frequently now.

10:27 AM - Natalie is now 10.5 kilometers out.  Conditions are still good.

9:30 AM - Natalie is now 8 kilometers out and doing well.  The wind has picked up and the waves are now at around 2 feet.  Conditions overall are still good and John is still thinking that she will finish in a time of around 20 hours total for the crossing.

8:30 AM - Natalie is now 4 kilometers out.  Winds are light, from the S-SW, and waves are less than 1 foot.  John states that the Niagara current is helping push Natalie along and will for the next while.

7:30 AM - One month after being pulled from the water on her last attempt at the traditional lake crossing, Natalie, fighting a cold and sore throat, entered the waters of Lake Ontario at Niagara-on-the-Lake.  She was determined to not let illness postpone the swim for another year.

July 23, 2008

8:30 AM - based on news reports, Natalie was pulled from the water at about 10:30 PM last night.  John decided that is was the best, as they were dealing with heavy thunderstorms and rain.  Natalie is determined to reschedule.

2:30 AM - no communications.  We expect to get a message later in the morning.

July 22, 2008

11:30 PM - no communications.

9:00 PM - (message left at 7:45 PM) John, now getting cell service again, has indicated the Natalie is ahead of schedule, with only 13 km left to swim.  Conditions are calm, but the crew figures they will be hit with hard rain at some point in the next few hours.

3:32 PM - John has been able to contact us.  Natalie is now 23 km in to her swim and doing VERY well.  Winds have died down and so have the waves.  The crew is watching the weather as in comes in from the direction of Hamilton.

1:40 PM - We have not had communication with the crew in some time.  It was around this time last year, during the same crossing attempt, that we started to get sporadic updates as phone service is harder to maintain for the flotilla.  We will continue to update this page as information becomes available.

11:36 AM - Winds are picking up, approximately 13 knots.  This is causing the waves to get a bit bigger, now 2.5 to 3 feet high.  The sun is shinning and Natalie is going strong.

10:31 AM - Natalie is doing well, now 10.5 km in to her swim, stopping on the hour to have a quick bite to eat.  Conditions are about the same. Winds are shifting and coming from the N-NE.  There is a crew of about 30 helping out and are in a flotilla consisting of some of the following - the 52' sailboat SAMARIA, the 32' sailboat HEART OF GOLD, and a 28' Navy inflatable - the H.M.C.S. STAR.

9:29 AM - Natalie is doing well.  She is now about 7 km out and conditions are about the same.  John says that it is overcast, but the sun is trying to peek-out now and then.  Ron, Natalie's dad, checked the water temperature (about 3 feet below the surface) and it is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or 26.6 degrees Celsius.

8:39 AM - Natalie has already completed 4 km.  Winds are light and waves are 2 ft. or less.  John Munro says she is in good spirits and doing well.

7:23 AM - Natalie is in the water and has started her swim from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto.


Total Funds Raised  $46,754  (and growing!)

Natalie would like to thank everyone who has given so far.

August 28, 2007

9:45 AM - Natalie is in great spirits and not sounding tired.   She stated, in a radio interview, "Fifty-seven kilometers is a long swim, but I had fun doing it."

Please continue to return to this page for updates on the fundraising dollar amounts as they start to come in.

9:30 AM - Finishing up with the butterfly stroke, Natalie has completed her swim in well under the time that was predicted.   We will get further updates as we can about how Natalie is feeling.

9:24 AM - Natalie has finished!!!!!

8:43 AM - They are nearing Confederation Basin.   John Munro figures that in approximately 45 minutes Natalie should be touching land.   Natalie is in great spirits, singing to her coach Vicki Keith at one point.

8:09 AM - Natalie's pace has picked up.  She is now only 2.5 km, or less, from Confederation Basin.  The waters are flat and the spirits are high by all on the crew.

7:10 AM - Natalie has prevailed through some sea-sickness and muscle fatigue overnight.  She is now under 6 km from finishing.  The flotilla is just west of the Kingston Olympic Harbor.  Conditions are still perfect on the lake.

6:37 AM - Natalie is now only 6.4 km from finishing.  They are near Lake Ontario Park.  Natalie's pace had slowed down, but she is still in good spirits.  Jenna, her sister, will be joining her shortly in the water for some support.  Estimates now have her coming in at around 10:00 AM.

6:30 AM - (message left at 3:00 AM) Natalie is moving quite well, she has completed 40 km of the swim so far.  John says that conditions are still the same.  Light winds and calm waters have helped her along.  Predictions are that she will arrive in around noon today.

2:30 AM - Still no communication. 


August 27, 2007

11:30 PM - We have not been able to make contact with the crew at this time.  Updates will be posted as they come in.

10:09 PM - 12 hours after the start of the swim, Natalie has now passed the halfway point.  This information comes from one of the crew following Natalie in one of the kayaks.   Thanks for the text message update Angie.

9:50 PM - Waters are calm and there is almost no wind as Natalie nears the halfway point.  "She is still swimming strong", says John Munro.

9:20 PM - (message from 7:45 PM) Natalie has now traveled 23.6 km in water that is currently at 72.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  The water is calm, waves at less than 1 foot.  Vicki has called for warm water to be brought out to the kayaks and used on Natalie's bathing cap to keep her warm as the night goes on.

3:57 PM - Natalie is over 14 km in and is nearing the point of Grenadier Island.  John says she is in good spirits and swimming strong.  Winds have picked up a bit from the NW and waves are getting as high as 2 feet.

2:20 PM - Natalie is now almost 11 km in and conditions are still good.  Winds are from the NW and waves are less than 1 foot.

1:30 PM - John Munro has let us know that Natalie is now 9 km in to the swim.  Conditions have not changed much.  A light wind from the N-NW is still present and the waters are calm.

12:00 PM - Natalie is now almost 4.5 km in to her swim.  Conditions are great, winds are still light and the waves are less than 6 inches. John Munro notes that the crews on the boats are cheering Natalie on and, at this time, he estimates that the swim will take 24 to 26 hours to complete.

10:09 AM - Natalie has started her swim, conditions are very good at this time.  Winds are light and it is sunny.

August 25, 2007

We have had to make a change to Natalie’s route to allow her to swim across Lake Ontario this year. The water temperature between Niagara on the Lake and Toronto, where Natalie made her first attempt 2 weeks ago, has dropped to a range between 13 and 16 degrees Celsius. That is too cold for Natalie to spend 24 hours or more in. We reviewed our options and came up with a solution. Natalie is going to swim across Lake Ontario from Sackets Harbor NY to Kingston where the water temperature remains between 19 and 23 degrees.

This means Natalie will still be the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario, but it will also allow her to finish in Kingston. Natalie is very excited about this option, as she sees this as an opportunity for her friends and supporters to be able to help her celebrate her setting the record as it happens.

Natalie’s Swim the Difference T shirt’s are on sale at the Kingston Family YMCA and will be on sale at Confederation Basin when she completes her swim sometime Tuesday morning, or early afternoon.

Natalie’s favourite colour is orange, so if you are coming down to help her celebrate the successful completion of her swim please wear orange or bring orange banners to wave.

Please remember to return to this page on Monday, August 27th, when Natalie will re-attempt to cross Lake Ontario, weather permitting.  The swim is schedule to begin at 10:00 AM.


August 10, 2007

Natalie's coach, Vicki Keith, has provided a wrap up of what happened during the swim.  If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, please click here and download it first.

Natalie's Journey

August 9, 2007

6:25 AM - We have not been able to get through, but based on radio reports Natalie has been pulled from the water near Toronto Island.  Winds were approximately 17 knots and waves rough (7 - 10 feet).  Natalie, disappointed, did take part in the decision and is determined to reschedule.

4:30 AM - Still no communication with the crew.

August 8, 2007

11:44 PM - We have been unable to make contact with the flotilla since our last update.  Based on a posting in the Kingston Whig Standard web site, "As of 10:30 p.m., Natalie Lambert had just passed the midpoint of her 52-kilometre Lake Ontario crossing."  We will continue to try, as they get closer to shore, to make contact with the crew.  We know that Natalie, and all who are with her, thank everyone for continuing to check in on her progress.

7:40 PM - We have been able to get through to the flotilla, only for a moment.  John has said that Natalie is doing great and has swam more than 22 km so far.  Waves are diminishing and the crew is starting to think about the wind change that will come in the morning, from the East.   We hope to speak with them again in the next couple of hours.

5:00 PM - Communication has been difficult while trying to make contact with the flotilla that is accompanying Natalie. This is not that uncommon for lake crossings and should improve as they move closer to Toronto.  We will continue to place updates in as we get them.

4:15 PM - Natalie is still swimming strong.  She is now 17 km out.  Winds are starting to die off a bit more, as they get ready to switch direction on her.  She is stopping, for just a minute or so, about every 30 minutes for a quick feeding.

2:40 PM - Natalie is now more than 13 km out.  Winds are from the West.  John says that Natalie is doing very well through the waves and is moving very quickly.

1:15 PM - Natalie is now 6 km out.  Winds have died down somewhat and are still coming from the North-West.  John Munro says she has made exceptional progress and is still swimming strong, with the river current still giving her a bit of a push.

11:50 AM - Now that they are out of the mouth of the Niagara River, the water has flattened out some.  Winds are still brisk and Natalie is doing great.  She will be stopping shortly for a feeding.

10:45 AM - John Munro has let us know that Natalie, with a great a push from the lake, is already 1.75 nautical miles (3.2 km) in to her swim.  Winds are from the North-West and brisk.  Waves are about 3 feet and choppy.

10:10 AM - Natalie, with cheers from family, friends, and supporters, is in the water and has started her swim.

Natalie Lambert will be climbing into Lake Ontario at 10:00 AM this morning, in her bid to become the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario.  Continue to view this page for updates, as they become available.

August 7, 2007

Natalie had a nice relaxing day in Niagara on the Lake. She slept in, had a nice hardy breakfast of waffles and headed down to the lake for an hour and a half warm up swim. Swimming between her two support Kayaks, Natalie swam across to Youngstown, NY, and then along the American shore for a while. She then turned and headed back to the Canadian shore and then against the Niagara River current for about 45 minutes.

Once she completed her training, and the crew had all the boats set up for the big day tomorrow, Natalie had a light lunch and headed back to the hotel to relax a bit.

Tonight is the crew meeting, where the swim master John Munro, and coach Vicki Keith will inform the crew of the rules, and expectations for the swim so everybody knows their roles, the safety procedures and what to expect for the 24 or so hours they will spend on Lake Ontario, supporting Natalie. After the crew meeting, Natalie will head off for a bit of down time, and then early to bed, so she is well rested for tomorrow’s swim.

August 6, 2007

Due to weather, it look like we will not be able to head out until Wednesday, August 8th.  Natalie will begin either late morning or early afternoon, once the weather front passes.

August 1, 2007

Natalie has finished her 18 kilometer trial swim in 5 hours and 39 minutes.

The plan (based on weather) is for her 52 kilometer swim, from Niagara on the Lake to Toronto, to begin next Tuesday morning at 7:00 AM and take approximately 24 hours to complete.

Please continue to return to this page for updates before Natalie begins her swim on or about August 7, 2007.


(UPDATE) August 1, 2007

Today is Natalie's birthday. It is also the day of her trial swim so that she can complete her goal of swimming across Lake Ontario early next week.

The air is warm and the water temperature is in the mid 20's. With a little fanfare from a small crowd of family and friends gathered on the shore of Gord and Lynn Miller's Amherst Island home, Natalie walks into the water and starts to swim.

Half an hour later, she stops for a gulp of water and some dextrose (sugar) she puts her head back in the water having taken only 10 seconds to tread water, drink and down her sugar tablet. Half an hour later she stops again - this time for close to 2 minutes- and has some Boost (meal replacement beverage) and more water. This pattern will continue for the next 5 and a half hours. Sometimes she is smiling, sometimes she is serious, but her mind set never changes. Stroke after stroke she powers through the water towards the far end of Amherst Island. She sings to herself, says a little prayer, thinks about all the kids in the Y Knot Abilities programs whom she will be helping and just enjoys the feeling of her stroke through the cool water. She is at peace with herself.

She pulls hard when she becomes caught up in a current off Kerr point, but it takes her more than an hour to pull through it. As she struggles with the currents, her arch nemesis appears. Seaweed! Growing from a shoal, its tips brush the surface of the water. Last year, when faced with seaweed, Natalie would leave the water in tears of frustration.   She wanted to stay in, but she couldn't overcome her fear of swimming through those awful weeds. This year she has decided that she will not let her fear get in the way of her dream. She powers over top of the weeds, and when she can no longer swim through them, she streamlines her body and kicks powerfully Finally she leaves the weeds behind. She smiles knowing that she has overcome her fear and strokes on

The Amherst Island ferry dock comes into view and she knows she is halfway there. She peeks forward every once in a while to check her progress, but overall, she just swims. As we make the last turn to her finish point, Susan and Garry Filson's Sand Bay Bed and Breakfast, Natalie raises her head, pulls her goggles to her forehead and identifies her final goal. She smiles again, replaces her goggles and puts her head back in the water. Half an hour later, she is strokes from shore. The weeds come out above the water level, but Natalie never flinches. She digs deep and swims butterfly to the shore.

5 hours and 39 minutes after she started, Natalie climbs from Lake Ontario with a huge smile on her face. She knows she is ready. Her foot is bleeding from a zebra mussel cut she received as she started out this morning, she has a little bit of a sunburn on her cheeks and nose, but other than that, she looks like she just went in for a dip. A small crowd gathers and congratulates her, and Natalie greets them and poses for pictures before she answers the media calls.

An hour later, her birthday party is in full swing with steak and shrimp and salads and ice cream cake for dessert. Attended by some of her close friends who will be part of her support crew on her swim, Natalie enjoys her afternoon and relaxes and celebrates with them. Her day is not over however. At 9:15 at night, Natalie has one more task to perform - the night swim.

She climbs back into the lake beside her support kayak with friend Kelly Bolton in the bow and coach Vicki Keith in the stern and starts to swim out into the dark water. 10 minutes later, Vicki calls out to her and asks how it feels. Natalie likes swimming at night, especially because now she can't see the seaweed she dislikes so much. She turns and powers towards shore where her friends and family are sitting around a camp fire waiting for her return.

After a few marshmallows and taffy in snow (a Lambert family tradition - Natalie's mom collects snow every winter and keeps it in the freezer until Natalie's birthday for a special treat) Natalie and her family and friends head off home for a well deserved sleep.