Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Up until 1984, a crossing of lac St-Jean in Canada was considered a tremendous feat. Since 1955, the 32 km Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean had challenged professional marathon swimmers from around the world to a tough 32 km, wind-whipped race across the cold-water lake in Quebec.

However, in 1984, Christine Cossette completely reset the mindset of the professional marathon swimming community when she decided to attempt – and completed – a two-way crossing of lac St-Jean. What previously had been considered difficult – a one-way crossing – was now considered just the halfway point.

Her achievement made swimmers re-think what was possible and what was really tough. Dial forward 31 years and Elizabeth Fry of Connecticut is the contemporary Cossette of the marathon swimming world.

Since its beginnings, the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge was – and is – considered a mighty 4-day marathon stage swim. Day One challenges swimmers to 15.2 km (9.5 miles) in Saguaro Lake; Day Two challenges swimmers to 14.4 km (9 miles) in Canyon Lake; Day Three challenges swimmers to 27.3 km (17 miles) in Apache Lake; Day Four challenges swimmers to 10 km (6.2 miles) in Roosevelt Lake.

It is a tough, very long weekend. Like lac St-Jean, the four reservoirs can be whipped up with winds.

And like Cossette, Fry is making swimmers re-think what is possible and what is really tough.

Nicknamed Double Down, Fry is literally swimming double the distance of her fellow S.C.A.R. swimmers: back and forth, up and down, there and back. She swims two laps, two-way, double down as everyone else is doing one lap.

Mind-boggling, but Fry is demonstrating that the power of the mind and what is really possible.

Results of the Canyon Lake Swim:
1. Cole Gindhart (age 23) 3:03:14.1
2. Cheryl Reinke (50) 3:14:36.6
3. Anna Delozier (51) 3:19:31.9
4. Chris Greene (53) 3:19:33.0
5. Stefan Reinke (56) 3:20:17.7
6. Emily Evans (38) 3:23:04.0
7. Mark Spratt (59) 3:29:08.0
8. Jacob Miyauchi (18) 3:30:02.5
9. Steven Minaglia (55) 3:33:25.9
10. John – Joe Zemaitis (35) 3:34:11.4
11. Dan Simonelli (49) 3:35:49.9
12. Jason Overbaugh (40) 3:38:03.5
13. Graeme Schlachter (40) 3:46:09.2
14. Matthew Hills (44) 3:52:37.3
15. Kathleen Wilson (51) 3:52:50.2
16. Patty Hermann (55) 3:53:07.2
17. Brad Lundblad (46) 3:53:10.7
18. Stephen Key (47) 3:54:38.3
19. Becky Jackman-Beeler (51) 3:55:26.0
20. Susie Bender Paul (42) 3:56:50.9
21. Ann Von Spiegelfeld (53) 3:57:13.8
22. Scott Blietz (44) 3:57:29.1
23. Roger Finch (57) 3:58:48.0
24. Kelly Gentry (28) 4:01:06.9
25. Helen Conway (38) 4:03:59.6
26. Erica Flickinger (36) 4:04:16.6
27. Janet Harris (49) 4:11:16.5
28. Tanya Maclean (39) 4:20:47.6
29. Mark Sheridan (41) 4:22:54.4
30. Craig Coombs (55) 4:24:02.8
31. Molly Nance (49) 4:25:54.7
32. Colleen Blair (37) 4:31:22.6
33. Joanne Menard (66) 4:32:24.2
34. Peter Lofquist (53) 4:36:48.0
35. Patty Grey (63) 4:49:21.8
36. Mo Siegel (63) 5:00:10.8
37. Tiffany Mcqueen (42) 5:02:44.2
38. Suzie / Walter Dods [relay] 5:04:26.3
39. Paula Yankauskas (60) 5:19:25.5
40. Paul Rekoff (56) 5:34:33.5
41. Beau Bearden (46) 5:36:15.4
42. Elizabeth ‘Double Down’ Fry (56) 7:27:30.0

For more detailed information on S.C.A.R., visit Stephen Key‘s blog on the event here. Day One results from Saguaro Lake are here. Day Three results from Apache Lake are here.

Race founder and event director Kent Nicholas wrote on the S.C.A.R. Facebook page, “Best day SCAR has ever had at Canyon – 42 swimmers in the water and 42 solid finishes. Water temp 66 – 71F. Cole Gindhart killing it with a 3:03 by starting in the third wave and eating up the entire field. Cheryl Reinke taking top spot for the women at 3:14. Liz ‘Double Down] Fry turning more than a few heads with another amazing double – 7 hours 27 minutes.”

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association