Last winter, Marilyn Korzekwa told members of the Nipissing Trackers and the Nipissing Association for Disabled Youth (NADY) that she wanted to swim 28 km across Lake Nipissing to raise money for the organizations.
Korzekwa has performed marathon swims throughout her life, swimming across Lake Ontario twice in the 1980s. In 2011, she came “out of retirement” to swim the English Channel. Since then, Kozekwa has been participating in competitive and charitable marathon swimming events.
Jim Stewart, President of NADY, says that the idea was hatched last winter during Korzekwa’s visit to the area.
“We put her in a bi-ski when she came to visit this winter to meet the people in North Bay and the people in the programs and she loved it. You admire people like that. She’s not asking for anything in return, she just wants to do it,” Stewart said.
The Lake Nipissing swim was originally supposed to be done in late June but was postponed because of the pandemic.
NADY is spearheading the logistics of the swim, with Stewart attempting to get help from the City of North Bay to welcome Korzekwa on Marathon Beach. Volunteers from the North Bay Power and Sail Squadron (NBPSS) have stepped up, providing boats and dinghies to help guide Korzekwa through the waters of Lake Nipissing.
Stewart says he’s touched by the volunteers who have stepped up to assist in the swim.
“The community itself is phenomenal. It’s evident every time we have anything to do with the Trackers the community really comes together. It leaves me speechless,” he said.
The proceeds from the swim will go from NADY to the Nipissing Trackers, which provides downhill skiing lessons to children with disabilities.
Rick Taylor, is a former coordinator of the Trackers program and whose wife, Anne has also been instrumental in organizing the swim. Rick says that he’s touched that Korzekwa has chosen to swim for the Trackers.
“It’s amazing. This is a lady from southern Ontario who’s willing to come up and swim Lake Nipissing. She’s willing to do that to support special needs kids here in North Bay, in our area,” he said.
Taylor adds that the extra money will help the Trackers create more lasting memories for its participants.
“We have kids who we take kicking and screaming onto a ski hill, literally. After six weeks, we take them kicking and screaming off the ski hill because they don’t want to stop,” Taylor said, adding that he hopes that Korzekwa’s swim will help spread awareness about the Trackers.
Korzekwa’s swim is scheduled to happen on September 1, with weather and water conditions being the determining factor. She will begin in Campbell’s Bay from the French River and land at Marathon Beach at the North Bay waterfront after an estimated 14 hours in the water.
Donations to the swim can be made at www.nady.ca