“I love swimming at night, black water, no noise and just myself”
Straight talking Toronto swim coach Kim Lumsdon knows what it’s like to swim long. She’s already swam Lake Ontario twice before, once when she was 19 years old and is planning her next crossing in 2017 when she will be 60. Less people have swam the 30ish mile crossing than have swam the English Channel.
1, You plan to swim across Lake Ontario when you are 60. You have swam Lake Ontario before haven’t you, it’s an epic achievement. Why do you want to do it again?
In 2013 I swam across Lake Ontario. I swam 700 miles in training and was in my best shape ever, I was 57 years of age.
I am doing it again because the weather deteriorated in 2013 and I had to get out. I was 10 Kms from touching land. So at the age of 60 (it’s a big year for me) I want to swim across and touch the shore one more time.
2, What makes the swim so tough?
It’s tough because you never know what the weather’s going to be in the middle of the lake, Lake Ontario is like an ocean. The winds can pick up and also can be cold.
My 2008 swim I had water temp of 56 degrees (13 C) for the last 8 hrs.
3, It’s a solo swim but you need a complete team around you, tell us about them?
The team has to be one that that keeps you happy and has lots of energy.
Don’t take too many, they can play two roles out there. Good pacers for morning swimming to be in the water with you and good navigators. I take a sailboat, powerboat and two Zodaics.
4, I read that Diana Nyad thought she saw the Yellow Brick Road beneath her when she swam between Cuba and Florida, have you had any strange sights or experiences?
If you are in good shape mentally and physically should not happen. Some people like to be drama.
5, And swimming in the dark, what’s that like? I imagine it’s easy to get disorientated.
I love swimming at night, black water, no noise and just myself
It is like mediation, it’s the best part.
I swim really well at night, I talk to myself, think about things, work on my stroke.
6, Any favourite foods when swimming or tips on refuelling?
I eat gels and drink Powerade and lots of water. Every 40 mins I eat peaches in corn syrup and fruit cocktail
7, It seems that sex and age are no barriers to long distance swimming, why is that?
Sex and age don’t matter. The older we get endurance swimmer are better swimmers
Age is just a number- Goals are there forever.
8, What advice would you give swimmers starting out in open water, it can be daunting when there are no lane ropes.
Firstly, always swim with a buddy or more than one if you can.
Start little baby steps then increase. When the baby steps get easy then add little more meters, don’t give up. If you can swim 200 meters you can swim 400 meters. It’s mind over matter. Go slow.
Stay close to the shore line for safety and it’s good for seeing where to go.
Don’t go in if weather is bad, if there are waves stay inshore and practice with a group
As for equipment, Wearing an orange flotation device behind you is good for safety and wear a PoolMate2 watch so you know how far and how long you have swam.
The PoolMate2 can tell you speed and distance in open water, find out more here
Interviewer Lisa Irlam, 25 Feb 2016
Here are some of our favorite swim sessions for you to try.
Did you know you can get waterproof paper? We print our swim sessions onto this so we can reuse them time and time again.