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Teen swims across Lake Ontario despite cold water, stormy forecast


A triumphant Rebekah Boscariol climbs out of the water after swimming across Lake Ontario Saturday
A triumphant Rebekah Boscariol climbs out of the water after swimming across Lake Ontario Saturday

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

August 7, 2011 — Patches of cold water and the threat of thunderstorms didn't deter 17-year-old Rebekah Boscariol from swimming across Lake Ontario to raise money for Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital.

Boscariol said sheer determination kept her going through the night
Boscariol said sheer determination kept her going through the night

Boscariol, who hails from Markham, reached Toronto's Marilyn Bell Park around noon on Saturday after a grueling 15-and-a-half-hour swim.

Her departure from Niagara-on-the-Lake was delayed by six hours when it looked like the weather wasn't going to co-operate.

Boscariol's coach encouraged her to postpone the attempt, the Toronto Star reported, but the teen was determined to complete the swim.

The stormy forecast may have contributed to Boscariol's near-record finish.

“There was a threat of thunderstorms and I wanted to finish before that hit,” an exhausted Boscariol told The Weather Network shortly after crawling from the water Saturday.

“I knew I was almost on the record, so that was the drive too,” she added.

Boscariol's official time was 15 hours, 33 minutes and 15 seconds -- 23 minutes shy of the women's record set by Cindy Nicholas in 1974.

Boscariol pronounced the water temperature, which hovered around 21°C through the night, “not too bad.”

“There were a few cold spots,” she said.

As of Saturday afternoon, Boscariol had raised about $12,000 for the Hospital for Sick Children, where her four-year-old sister, Sophia, recently underwent surgery for a non-life-threatening heart condition.

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