Courtesy of Global News.

Jenna Lambert‘s crossing of Lake Ontario was unique for several reasons:

*she was 14 when she completed her 32 hour 18 minute crossing in 2006
*she has cerebral palsy
*she raised $210,000 in Jenna’s Kid 4 Kids Marathon to support of the Kingston Family YMCA’s Y Penguins and its new pool

She had planned to swim for up to 24 hours to cross the 20.7-mile (33 km) course from Baird Point in New York to Lake Ontario Park in Kingston, Canada, but she faced winds and waves that pushed her to extend her crossing to over 32 hours.

Lambert was one of the inaugural members of the Kingston Y Penguins, a swim team for young people with physical disabilities and their able-bodied siblings. “The Kingston Family YMCA’s Y Penguins are about building self-confidence. They are about showing young people that nothing is impossible – that, with hard work and determination, they can accomplish anything they set their mind on,” says coach Vicki Keith. “Jenna is a highly-motivated young lady with a huge heart. She sees the possibilities in herself and sees a way that she can make a positive difference in the lives of her teammates.”

Keith remembers Jenna when she first joined the Kingston Y Penguins. She recalls a 10-year-old with a huge smile running down the hall towards the pool aided by her walker for balance and support. When Lambert joined the Y Penguins in 2001, she used her walker to aid in her mobility. Since joining the swim team, Jenna’s strength and coordination has improved so much that she now uses forearm crutches almost exclusively.

She later represented Canada in various international competitions, swimming in the S6SB5SM6 classification in pool competitions. But she says, “I feel the most joy when I can climb into a lake and find a comfortable pace and just swim. I feel like I can swim forever.”

Last week, Lambert received a Meritorious Service Medal from Governor General David Johnston. The medal recognizes Canadians who have accomplished exceptional deeds.

That she did – and does.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association