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Swimmer smashes Erie record

JADE Scognamillo is now the youngest to swim Erie.

Jade Scognamillo finished her record-breaking swim of Lake Erie so fast, the camera crews that were supposed to greet her were nowhere in sight.

On July 12, the 14-year-old Vaughan Aquatic Club member entered the record books as the youngest person ever to swim the Great Lake.

And she did it in blistering time, completing the 19.2-kilometre journey from Sturgeon Point, N.Y. to Crystal Beach, Ont. in five hours, 40 minutes, 35 seconds, shattering the previous record by more than two hours.

“When I finished, they weren’t due to show up for another hour and a half,” Scognamillo said Monday. “It was kind of funny.”

Conditions for her swim were good, the Country Day School student said, though things looked a little dicey on her way to Sturgeon Point. From the car, Scognamillo could see the waves moving across the face of the lake.

“But as I was into my swim, it calmed down,” she said. “It was a really nice day. Everybody was sunbathing on their boats.

“I got burnt,” she added with a laugh.

Thanks to the cheers of family, friends, volunteers and coaches following closely on support boats, Scognamillo said she was able to push through the fatigue and pain in her arms and legs that began to set in about half way into her swim.

“I was so relieved (to finish),” she said. “Obviously I couldn’t swim right out, and so I stood up and I was walking through the last bit of water and I fell over right at the end.

“But then I got out and I collapsed on the floor.”

Tired though she was, she said it didn’t take her long to recover enough to join the celebratory barbecue afterward.

Through the swim, Scognamillo had hoped to raise $30,000 to buy an incubator for Sick Kids hospital’s neonatal unit. She’s about a third of the way there, having raised $9,000 so far, and she’s continuing to accept donations through her website,

Vaughan Today
Online: July 17, 2008 [link]