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The Great Lakes don't stand in the way of Carr who is looking to master them all.

Carr, 16, will attempt to swim Lake Erie for Camp Trillium in July

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Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 4:24 PM -

In July, Annaleise Carr will swim 75 kilometres across Lake Erie, continuing her journey to raise money for children and families affected by childhood cancer. If Carr completes the swim, she will set a world record for the longest swim across Lake Erie.

The 16-year-old from Walsh, Ont. completed her first open water swim in 2012, becoming the youngest person to swim across Lake Ontario. Her goal was to raise $30,000 for Camp Trillium, a non-profit camp that offers year-round recreational programs for children with cancer. Carr surpassed her goal and raised over $250,000 after a swim that took her almost 27 hours through “grueling and wild conditions,” she notes. 

Carr took a route commonly known as the “Marilyn Bell Route” to swim Lake Ontario. The route earned its name after 1954, when 16-year-old Marilyn Bell became the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. 

At 14, Carr set a world record as the youngest ever to swim Lake Ontario. To open-water swimmers, this is considered one of the most difficult swims in the northern hemisphere. As noted by the Great Lakes Echo, this is primarily due to unexpected changes in wind direction, water temperature, and currents that vary significantly in speed and direction. 

After one of Canada's harshest winters, Carr says lakes Erie and Ontario still haven't quite warmed up. In addition to swimming in the pool 10 times a week to prepare, Carr has also been training in the pond.

"I've been out [to the lake] a couple of times, but we can't stay out too long because of how cold it is. We're hoping that in June we should be able to get in and actually do longer swims."

According to The Weather Network's meteorologist Scott Sutherland, a comfortable temperature for swimming ranges between 21 and 31 degrees Celsius.

"The western end of Lake Erie is currently getting up into the 70s, but the route between Erie and Port Dover is currently in the range of 4-14 C. Even wearing a wetsuit, this would still become very uncomfortable for anyone after a time, and it could even be dangerous," Sutherland says.

While swimming Lake Ontario Carr says she didn't have too much trouble with the water temperature, but at some instances the weather obstructed her swim. 

"During the night we did have a little bit of a storm, and I actually had six-foot waves push me backwards during the whole entire night, which slowed us down a lot," she says. "Actually, we ended up going backwards because of the wind. That was the hardest part."

Carr's swim starts in Erie, Pa. on July 25 and ends in Port Dover. Her route will top the previous world record by approximately 20 kilometres.

In the meantime, Carr plans to continue raising funds for Camp Trillium. She looks forward to the possibility of joining Trillium's staff in the near future.

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