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Vicki Keith

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Vicki Keith before a marathon swim
Butterflying Vicki Keith

Dr. Vicki Keith C.M., O. Ont., LLD, ChPC (born 26 February 1961) is the 57-year-old Founder/Coordinator of Y Abilities Programs and a Canadian marathon swimmer and coach as well as an advocate for disabled athletes. Retired from marathon swimming since 1991, Keith continues to raise awareness and funds for programs and projects to help children with physical disabilities and makes public appearances as an inspirational speaker.

Open Water Swimming Career Highlights[edit]

  • Keith was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer in 2004.
  • In October 1985, she completed a continuous swim in 1985 of 100 hours in a pool in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
  • In August 1985, she swam 12 miles butterfly in 11 hours 40 minutes in Lake Ontario, Canada.
  • In June 1986, she completed a continuous swim of 129 hours 45 minutes in a pool in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
  • In August 1986, she attempted a double crossing of Lake Ontario (one completed crossing).
  • In 1990, she swam 69 km (44 miles) in a pool in 24 hours.
  • Keith is a multiple time member of the 24-hour club.
  • On 15 August 1986, she swam 45.6 km across Lake Ontario in Canada in 26 hours 58 minutes.
  • On 6 August 1986, she swam a 95 km two way crossing of Lake Ontario in Canada in 56 hours 10 minutes, the first double crossing of Lake Ontario.
  • She swam across all 5 Great Lakes during the summer of 1988: Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Lake Ontario.
    • On 2 July 1988, she swam one way (42 km) across Lake Erie in 20 hours in an attempted two-way crossing.
    • On 19 July 1988, she swam 65 km across Lake Huron from Michigan to Ontario in 46 hours 55 minutes.
    • On 28 July 1988, she swam 62 km across Lake Michigan from Michigan to Illinois in 52 hours 45 minutes.
    • On 15 August 1988, she swam 42 km across Lake Superior from Wisconsin to Minnesota in 16 hours 0 minutes.
    • On 40 August 1988, she swam 45.4 km of butterfly across Lake Ontario in Canada in 24 hours 44 minutes.
  • In May 1989, she swam 22.5 km (14 miles) of butterfly in 14 hours 40 minutes in a circumnavigation of Sydney Harbour, Australia.
  • On 10 July 1989, she crossed the 33.5 km English Channel swimming butterfly in 24 hours 44 minutes.
  • On 10 August 1989, she swam 16.8 km across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Washington to Vancouver in 14 hours 1 minute swimming butterfly.
  • In August 1989, she swam 28.9 km (18 miles) across Lake Winnipeg butterfly in 14 hours 0 minutes.
  • On 4 September 1989, she swam 49.8 km across Lake Ontario in Canada in 41 hours 0 minutes, her fifth crossing.
  • On 24 September 1989, she swam 32.3 km across the Catalina Channel from Santa Catalina Island to the Southern California mainland in 14 hours 54 minutes 26 seconds butterfly.
  • In January 1990, she swam 44.066 miles in a pool in 24 hours.
  • In August 2001, she completed a 42 km tandem crossing of Lake Ontario with husband John Munro in Canada.
  • She set 16 records and received 41 honours and awards while raising over C$1 million to help children with physical disabilities.
  • On 5 August 2005, she came out of retirement to attempt a record by swimming 84 km (52 miles) from Oswego, New York to Kingston, Ontario. However, her attempt was cut short due to high waves. Just before leaving the water, she was averaging only one kilometer an hour because of waves more than two meters tall. If Keith had continued, the wind and waves would have added 40 more hours to her expected 48-hour swim.
  • Two weeks after her unsuccessful attempt in August 2005, Keith was back in the water. This time the route was a shoreline swim that saw her travel from Point Petre in Prince Edward County to Long Point, then diagonally to the north shore of Amherst Island, along Amherst Island to Griffin Point, across to Fairfield Park and then along the shore to Lake Ontario Park. She completed 80.2 kilometers, setting a new record for distance butterfly. The swim, originally predicted to take 48 hours, took 64 hours 40 minutes (over 2½ days). Keith had to fight high winds and waves, strong currents, cold temperatures, and hallucinations as she pushed beyond what most believed feasible to accomplish her goal.
  • In August 2014, Keith organized and participated in 65 km The Great Lake Adventure, a 24-hour marathon swimming relay in Lake Ontario that included Abi Tripp, Nick Streicher, Michelle Sempowski, Natasha Dobson, Harley Bolton, Natalie Lambert, Jenna Lambert, and Keith.

Memorial to Vicki Keith[edit]

The end of the Leslie Street Spit in Toronto has been named Vicki Keith Point in her honor. This is place where she made most of her landings after crossing Lake Ontario.

2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nomination[edit]

"With dreams of swimming 405 km (189 miles) from west to east across Lake Ontario, an 8-person Canadian team led by Vicki Keith was repeatedly thwarted by weather, winds and unexpectedly cold water temperatures. But the group kept training, waiting and wondering when their window of opportunity would reveal itself. The members of the Great Lake Adventure maintained their faith in themselves, their teammates, and the weather conditions, never forgetting Keith’s advice to seek Big Hairy Audacious Goals and her personal example to Dream, Believe, Laugh, Achieve, and Inspire. They changed plans and adjusted courses in Lake Ontario to ultimately complete 65 km in 24 hours by a team that included 4 disabled swimmers and 5 teenagers. For proving that success can be achieved under unexpected conditions, for completing a 24-hour non-stop relay under difficult conditions, for never giving up their dreams and hopes to mark their mark in Lake Ontario, the Great Lake Adventure with Vicki Keith, Abi Tripp, Nick Streicher, Michelle Sempowski, Natasha Dobson, Harley Bolton, Natalie Lambert, and Jenna Lambert is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year."

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2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nominees[edit]

1. Beyond Avalon by Dan Henry, Dave Speier, William Miller, Steve Miller, Lee Grove, Dana Selles, Mark Zambon, Penny Nagel, Chris Gibson, Jon Rodley, Jonathan Hands, Nick Jeffery, Terry Hirt (U.S.A.)
2. Curaçao Channel Crossing by Niko Kluyver, André Nottelman, Erwin Ruijsink (Curaçao)
4. Cyprus Israel Swim by Udi Erell, Doron Amosi, Ben Enosh, Ori Sela, Oded Rahav, Luc Chetboun (Israel)
4. Diomede Islands Swim by Alexandr Brylin and Grigorii Prokopchuk (Russia)
5. English Channel Crossing by Cyril Baldock (Australia)
6. Great Lake Adventure by Vicki Keith, Abi Tripp, Nick Streicher, Michelle Sempowski, Natasha Dobson, Harley Bolton, Natalie Lambert, Jenna Lambert (Canada)
6. International Winter Swimming Festival Argentina by Matías Ola (Argentina)
8. Lake Ontario Crossing by Trinity Arsenault (Canada)
9. Madagascar Swim by Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot (South Africa)
10. Manhattan Island Marathon Swim by Kristian Rutford (U.S.A.)
11. Mallorca 360° Circumnavigation Swim by Richard Krugel (South Africa)
12. Monterey Bay Crossing by Patti Bauernfeind (U.S.A.)
14. Prison Island Swims by Jacques Tuset (France)
14. Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by Charlotte Samuels (U.S.A.)
15. U.S. Lifeguarding Champions by Monmouth County Lifeguards (U.S.A.)

Swimming achievements[edit]

Video[edit]

World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women[edit]

She was named to the list of World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women by the World Open Water Swimming Association in 2015.

External links[edit]