Courtesy of Bob Weir, Solo Swims of Ontario, Canada.

The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in North America on the Canada–United States border. The Great Lakes consists of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario and form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, containing 21% of the world’s surface fresh water.

Between the ages of 17 and 30, Canadian swimmer Paula Stephanson swam across all five Great Lakes.

Her longest swim – 25 hours 38 minutes – was her last one in Lake Michigan.

But her first swim – 22 hours 30 minutes to traverse 50.5 km across Lake Ontario – was also a long one. Her achievement replicated the Great Lakes odyssey of fellow Canadian marathon swimmer Vicki Keith (completed in 1988).

* August 1996: she completed a 50.5 km 22 hour 30 minute crossing of Lake Ontario at the age of 17
* July 1998: she completed a 43 km 18 hour 23 minute crossing of Lake Erie from New York to Ontario at the age of 19
* August 2000: she completed a 55 km 22 hour 26 minute crossing of Lake Huron from Michigan to Ontario at the age of 21
* August 2007: she completed a 32 km 13 hour 15 minute crossing of Lake Superior from Wisconsin to Minnesota in 13 hours 15 minutes at the age of 28
* August 2009: she completed a 51 km 25 hour 38 minute crossing of Lake Michigan from Chicago to Indiana in 25 hours 38 minutes at the age of 30

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