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08/15/2010

Miguel Vadillo's Journey Across Lake Ontario

Jim Rankin – Reporter/Photographer

Many months ago, Toronto Star designer Miguel Vadillo asked if I’d join his crew for an attempted swim crossing of Lake Ontario and take a few pictures. I said it would be my honour, but wasn’t prepared for such a wonderful experience. At 3:03 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11, Miguel, 40, touched the shore at Toronto’s Marilyn Bell Park, joining a group of fewer than 50 people who have achieved such a feat since Marilyn first did it in 1954 at the age of 16. He’d been in the water 18 hours, three minutes and 49 seconds, the eleventh fastest time ever recorded. It had been a long sleepless night for most crew members, who boarded support boats at the starting point in Niagara-on-the-Lake for a 9 p.m. start on Tuesday. And it was an unforgettable next day. Miguel swam for Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart charity. He surpassed his fundraising goal, which means 300 kids will be able to take water safety and swimming lessons at a time when the Toronto area has seen many preventable deaths by drowning. Donations are still being accepted here: http://bit.ly/LakeDonations

Here’s a taste of Miguel’s swim.

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog01 Crew load support boats for Miguell Vadillo's swim. Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the lake in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog02 Miguell Vadillo's arrives at the dock where his support boats were being loaded. Coach Kendra Burton, left, welcomes him.  Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the lake in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swamfor Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog03 Katie White, Miguel Vadillo's partner, gives him a kiss during a pre-swim briefing session.     Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the lake in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog04 Prior to his swim, Miguel Vadillo is overcome with tears after reading a card from swim coach Kendra Burton. Partner Katie White is to his right.  Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the lake in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog05 Swim master Alan Fairweather, centre with moustache, briefs Miguel Vadillo's crew before the swim. Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing Lake Ontario in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog06 Miguel Vadillo has his baseline vitals measured by nurse Kristen Holloway prior to his swim. Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing Lake Ontario in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog07 Miguel Vadillo gets lubed up with lanoilin with help from son Santiago and partner Katie White. Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing Lake Ontario in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog08 Miguel Vadillo is ready to enter the water, lathered in layers of sunscreen, vaseline and lanolin. He strapped a glow stick to his head and wore another on his left wrist.    Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the lake in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog09 Miguel Vadillo, 40, enters Lake Ontario at 9 p.m.. He is attempting to swim Lake Ontario. The Toronto Star designer would be the 43rd person to do so. - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog10 Miguel Vadillo, 40, swims at sunrise, nine hours into his attempt to cross Lake Ontario. The Toronto Star designer would be the 43rd person to do so. - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog11 Miguel Vadillo had swam through the night, and come daylight, felt renewed.   Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the Lake Ontario in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog12 Miguel Vadillo had swam through the night, and come daylight, felt renewed. Trevor Turl drives one of three escort inflatable dingies.  Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the Lake Ontario in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

  JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog13 Support boat driver Thomas Dobokay  threatens to soak Katie White, Miguel Vadillo's partner. Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the lake in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog14

Miguel Vadillo feeds from a water bottle tethered to a support dingy.  The lead boat, the 35 foot Niagara sailboat, is in the distance. Vadillo, 40, arrived at Marilyn Bell Park just after 3 pm Tuesday, Aug 11, crossing the lake in 18 hours, and three minutes. It was the eleventh fastest time on record. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog15 Miguel Vadillo, 40, swims after sunrise in his successful attempt to cross Lake Ontario. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog15A Miguel Vadillo, 40, arrives at Marilyn Bell Park after crossing Lake Ontario. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12. The three embraced on shore. - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog16 Miguel Vadillo, 40, arrives at Marilynn Bell Park after crossing Lake Ontario. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12. The three embraced on shore. - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog17

Miguel Vadillo, 40, arrives at Marilynn Bell Park after crossing Lake Ontario. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12. The three embraced on shore. - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog18 Miguel Vadillo, 40, arrives at Marilynn Bell Park after crossing Lake Ontario. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids. Along as part of his 21 member crew were his Partner Katie White, and son, Santiago Vadillo, 12. The three embraced on shore. - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

JR_MiguelSwimPhotoBlog20 Miguel Vadillo, 40, came out the water a little wobbly and somewhat shriveled and pasty from lanolin, but he was able to give coherent interviews with reporters after he arrived at Marilyn Bell Park after crossing Lake Ontario. The Toronto Star designer swam for Jumpstart, a charity that provide swimming and water safety lessons for kids.  - JIM RANKIN/TORONTO STAR

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Nice post. I like many of the shots but have a question. On the one where the swimmer's getting coated, why didn't you use a flash?

Seems to me you could have brought the people up enough to get some back ground with the lake, unless of course, you were deliberately trying to blow out the back ground?

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