Marilyn Korzekwa Budgets For 24 Hours On Her Next Swim

Marilyn Korzekwa Budgets For 24 Hours On Her Next Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa, a 58-year-old Canadian psychiatrist, hopes to make Canadian history by being the first person to swim between 3 provinces. She is planning a double crossing of the Northumberland Strait from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick, a distance of 46 km. She anticipates that her swim scheduled for July 23rd – 28th will take at least 24 hours.

The first Canadian to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming talks about her pioneering swim in Canada:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How far is it?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: It is about 33 km from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island and 13 km back to New Brunswick. The turn around and finishing points are not firm, it depends on where the tides push me. The goal is to turn around in PEI and finish in New Brunswick.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Where is your start?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa It is from Boss Point, Nova Scotia to Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island and back to Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick in Canada. This is the first time anyone has ever swum between the three provinces.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are the expected water temperatures and weather conditions?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: Water temperature will be between 62 and 68°F. The biggest challenge to swimming is the tide which floods through the strait in a southeasterly direction more strongly than it ebbs northwesterly. The tides are not uniform, varying from 2 hours 47 minutes to 8 hours 36 minutes. I am expecting a maximum tide speed of 1.2 knots. Jellyfish – but not sharks – are a concern.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: When is your window?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: The neap tide window is July 23rd to 28th. We will pick the best weather within that window.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Who is your pilot and your crew?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: My captain is Tony Trenholm, a lobster fisherman from New Brunswick in a 43-foot fishing boat. He has accompanied Jen Alexander in the past. Alexander will be the official observer. Alexander is originally from Stoney Creek, Ontario, and now resides in Vancouver. She is the first person to have completed the double crossing of the Northumberland Strait, from New Brunswick to Prince Edwards Island and back again, 26 km in 19 hours 17 hours in 2007. Alexander, who has Type 1 diabetes, attempted the 3 Provinces swim twice. In 2008, she swam from PEI to New Brunswick but succumbed to nausea en route to Nova Scotia. In a second attempt, which was foiled by equipment failures, she swam from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick. Alexander says she will be scrupulously observing me for rule violations which could disqualify me.

Paula Jongerden, the first person to swim Lake Erie from Erie, Pennsylvania to Long Point, Ontario, will be assistant observer and pacer. Jongerden is a Langton, Ontario nurse who swam a distance of 44 km across Lake Erie in 2002 in grueling 2½ metre waves. Thie Convery who swam 19 km across Lake Erie from Sturgeon Point, New York to Crystal Beach, Ontario in 2010 will be coach and pacer. Convery is a Dundas, Ontario businesswoman who was my pacer swimmer in Lakes Simcoe, Muskoka, Joseph and in the English and Catalina Channels. My husband will be the manager and decision-maker. One or more of my sons will paddle.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How are you training for this swim? Are you doing anything differently?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: When I trained for Catalina Channel, I followed Marcia Cleveland‘s training plan that she outlined in her Dover blog when she trained at age 44 for Catalina. I think she mentioned that she was an older athlete and didn’t train as many yards as she did when she was younger. That worked for me since I had the English Channel under my belt 2 years earlier. I have converted her yardage estimates into kilometers. In the fall she swam up to 18 km per week, in January and February she swam up to 23 km per week, in March and April she swam up to 27 km per week, and in May and June, she swam up to 32 km. Catalina was a 32 km swim, so I figured that the goal is to build up to “the distance of the swim per week” by the last couple of weeks before the taper.

Since this is a 46 km swim, and this is my fifth year in a row of doing big swims, and I am 58 years old with several shoulder injuries caused by falls, I decided I needed to work up to 46 km per week, but I didn’t want to push the mileage until I could get outside in May. So April was 27 km per week, May averaged 32 km per week. June will be 36 km per week and there will be one week of 40 km and two of 46 km.

I worked on speed and technique in the pool and I am working on distance since I have been outside starting May 10th.

The biggest difference in the last couple of months is that rest days do not necessarily precede or follow big workout days. Gotta push that tired body the next day. I also have bumped up my core strength training with my trainer to twice a week this year. I am also working on keeping the muscles around the joints “balanced” and keeping the injuries at bay with my trainer and Active Release Technique chiropractor.

I did a twist on the English Channel training guidelines and did the 47 km distance over 4 days. As in previous years, I will do one long “trial swim” of 32 km.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How long do you expect this swim to take you?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: I expect it will take 21 hours, but I am budgeting for 24 hours.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How do you balance your work, your family and training for this swim?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: My three boys are all grown up now. I just semi-retired in September so I have 2 days off a week, which really helps. My husband is a great help around the house and with the kids. He is also very knowledgeable about marathon swims and makes all the big decisions on my big swims. I joked last year that he is the admiral of my life. He also says that he married me because he knew life with me would be an adventure.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Who has crossed this strait before, one-way?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: There have been 3 previous double crossings between the 2 provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, 13 km each way or 26 km. The third crossing was only witnessed by the paddler. There have been about two dozen single crossings and over 60 swims by wetsuited swimmers. Unfortunately, there is no governing body so the record keeping, rule following and safety procedures vary greatly. [For more information, visit here or here.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are the challenges you feel that you will face?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: This will be the longest swim of my career. With the water temperature at 16–20°C and my age, I don’t know if I have the stamina to swim fast enough for such a long distance to stay warm. Making progress against the tide, which is expected to change 3 times during the swim, will be the biggest challenge. My window of July 23rd – 28th is the lowest tide of the month, with a maximum speed of 2.2 km per hour, which is the speed at which I swim when I am tired. Then there are the jellyfish, both Lion’s Mane and moon jellies. The possibility of high winds and waves is another challenge.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your swimming background?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: I was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario in both directions, south-to-north (45 km in 1983) and north-to-south (46 km in 1984) with the Canadian record for the north-to-south swim in 21 hours 0 minutes. In 2011, I came out of retirement to swim 35 km in Lake Simcoe from Barrie to Orillia in 18 hours 45 minutes. The water temperature was 13°C for the first 3 hours. Also in 2011, I swam the English Channel in 16 hours 40 minutes. The water was 17.5°C and the winds peaked at 48 km per hour with 3 metre waves. The Channel Swimming Association awarded me the Van Audenaerde Endurance Cup for the most difficult feat of endurance of the year. In 2012, I became the oldest woman to complete the 20 km Swim around Key West in Florida. I have also swum the big 3 Muskoka lakes over the last six years. In 2013, I became the oldest Canadian to swim the 32 km San Pedro Strait from Catalina Island to the mainland of California. When I completed the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2014, I was the oldest Canadian and the first Canadian to complete the Triple Crown of marathon swimming: English Channel, Catalina, Manhattan Island.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are you swimming for a cause?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: I am hoping to raise $15,000 for the Good Shepherd Centres in Hamilton that run a network of shelters and services for troubled youth, abused women and children, mentally and physically challenged people, and people without food or shelter. Good Shepherd staff have provided loving care and hope for my patients and I wish to express my gratitude and further support their mission.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What rules will you follow?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: There is no governing body for the Northumberland Strait, so I have applied for and have been granted a sanction by the World Open Water Swimming Association. I will follow their rules as well as the rules of the Marathon Swimmers Federation which forbid wetsuits, watches and MP3 players.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you have a website about this swim?
Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa: For more information about the two-way crossing of the Northumberland Strait, visit here or for sponsorship, visit here.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association