Annaleise Carr swam for nearly 27 hours in chilly waters
The course across the lake is more than 31 miles
She swam to raise money for childhood cancer
She raised nearly three times her goal by Sunday evening
A Canadian 14-year-old completed a nearly 27-hour, 31.6-mile solo swim across Lake Ontario on Sunday, becoming the youngest person ever to make the trek.
As Annaleise Carr approached the Toronto shore, her red swimming cap bobbing up and down as she swam freestyle, a crowd of supporters cheered and clapped. As they watched her approach shore they chanted, “You can do it, Annaleise! You can do it, Annaleise!”
Annaleise began her charity swim at 6:17 p.m. ET Saturday at Niagara-on-the-Lake. She climbed out of the water at Toronto’s Marilyn Bell Park two minutes before 9 p.m. Sunday.
The teenager did not speak to the gathered crowd after her swim, instead going to the hospital for a standard check-up, a spokesman said.
Staff in a kayak and an inflatable boat accompanied her to shore.
CNN affiliate CTV said Annaliese was allowed breaks during her swim so she could eat, but she had to stay in the water.
The teenager did her swim for charity, aiming to raise $30,000 for Camp Trillium, a childhood cancer center. As of 5:23 p.m. Sunday, she had raised close to $80,000, according to her parents, who were updating her progress online each step of the way.
“Unbelievable!!!!!” her parents wrote on her website, Annaleise’s Lake Ontario Crossing. “We are so proud!!!”
The first person to swim across Lake Ontario was 16-year-old Marilyn Bell in 1954, according to Swim Ontario, the sport’s provincial governing body.
Nearly 50 other swimmers have completed the swim since then, but Annaleise is the youngest, according to Solo Swims of Ontario, a non-profit group that monitors the safety of long-distance swims.
One of the solo Lake Ontario swimmers was Diana Nyad, who on Sunday was attempting to swim from Florida to Cuba. The 62-year-old Nyad – who completed her Lake Ontario swim in 1974 at the age of 24 – was a third of the way to her goal as of Sunday evening.
In Annaleise’s last blog post before setting off, she said she was well rested after sleeping nearly 12 hours the night before.
She wrote, “Dad says he thinks I have ice in my veins :) I guess we’ll find out because the lake flipped yesterday and I’m looking at very cold water in Toronto now! I’ll do my best to deal with anything that comes my way…not just the cold!”
Annaleise says on her site that she has swum competitively since she was 4 and that distance swimming has always been her passion. She began swimming in the lake three or four years ago and said competing in open water is “way quieter” than in a pool.
She says she chose Lake Ontario for her swim because it’s one of the hardest open-water swims in the world, and she wanted to “accomplish something difficult” for children who fight cancer.