Record holder to attempt to swim Northumberland Strait twice

Maureen Coulter
Published on July 15, 2015

Marilyn Korzekwa plans to be the first person to swim between three provinces in July 2015.

©Submitted photo

Long-distance swimming comes second nature to Dr. Marilyn Korzekwa, who has been setting records in the water since she began competing at age 13.

Now 58 years old, the Hamilton, Ont. psychiatrist is gearing up for the most challenging long distance swim of her career.

Korzekwa is aiming to complete a double-crossing of the Northumberland Strait from Nova Scotia, to Prince Edward Island, then to New Brunswick.

If she succeeds, Korzekwa will be the first person to swim between three provinces.

"I'm up for the challenge. I have done all my training and I'm ready to prove that I can do it," she said.

The swim is about 47 kilometres and Korzekwa estimates it will take about 24 hours to complete.

She will pick the nicest days between July 23-28 to set out.

Korzekwa plans to start off one of the points along the Amherst Shore, N.S.

She expects the tide will spit her out near Borden-Carleton.

She then hopes to continue on to Cape Tormentine or Cape Jourimain in New Brunswick.

Some challenges with this swim include the chilly waters, the tides — which are expected to change three times during the swim — and jellyfish.

She admits she is nervous, and has experienced some aches while training.

"The chiropractor is costing me a fortune," she laughed.


Chiropractor bills aside, Korzekwa says next year she plans to cross the Cook Strait in New Zealand, which is approximately 32 kilometres.

"I thought this (Northumberland Strait) would be a good test of how I do in cold water and tidal currents," she said.

During her tough moments, her crew has a list of inspirational quotes that they write on a whiteboard.

One of her favourites is, ‘One stroke at a time'.

Also during those times she will be able to think about a recent lunch that she had with Marilyn Bell, whom she was named after.

Bell was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario in 1954.

Korzekwa said meeting her was an awesome experience.

Bell gave Korzekwa hugs, flowers and well wishes for this swim.

"I will be thinking about that... That will be a big motivator."

Korzekwa also has a fundraising goal of $15,000 to go towards Good Shepherd, which is an agency that has a network of shelters and services for every kind of social need in the Hamilton area.

To make a donation visit

Natural-born swimmer

Korzekwa has had a long career of swimming as she has been competing since the age of 13. Some of Korzekwa's long-distance swimming accomplishments include:

- First Canadian to complete the Triple Crown of marathon swimming: the English Channel, Strait of San Pedro and Manhattan Island.

- Holds record for the fastest north-to-south swim across Lake Ontario.

- Set the record in 2012 for being the oldest woman to swim around Key West

- Oldest Canadian to swim from Catalina Island to mainland California along the 32-kilometre San Pedro Strait in 2013