Canadian Living: What inspired you to swim across Lake Ontario and what kind of training did that entail?
Trinity Arsenault: Four years ago, my mom, Christine, swam across Lake Ontario. It was then that I decided it was something I wanted to do. I trained for two years. At the height of it, I was swimming 56 kilometres a week. I'd train in the morning, get cleaned up and go to school. Then when I'd get home, I'd do a dry land workout, then practise swimming with my team. When I'd get home, I'd do a small follow-up swim.
CL: What were some of the challenges you faced during your swim?
TA: I had to deal with very high winds and a cross current for most of it. Toward the end, I was hit with 70 kilometre per hour winds and 12-foot-high waves. It was one of the worse storms of the summer and I was swimming right into it. But I made it, thanks to my amazing navigator and my team—[former Canadian marathon swimmer] Vicki Keith, Marilyn Bell [first person to swim across Lake Ontario] and my mom.
I fell sick in December and spent several weeks out of school and in and out of hospital [diagnosed with asthma]. I was unable to train and I thought about not continuing because my goal just seemed to get farther and farther away. But then something kicked in and I just became determined to get through and achieve my goal.
CL: What did you learn in accomplishing your goal?
TA: In my actual swim, I learned to dig deeper and finish what I started. I've learned to do things when I don't want to do them—and I'm a teenager! So when I was training, I still had to clean my room and help with household chores. On my only day off, that meant doing homework and studying.
CL: What advice do you have for other girls and young women?
TA: Be yourself and no one else. I think of that girl in the video who tried to be the person everyone wanted her to be—and she hated it. You need to surround yourself with friends or a crew of people who can help you be the person you are. When you're striving for a goal, you need to just put your head down and do it. There's no getting around it.
CL: What's next for you?
TA: This summer, I'm helping my team swim across Lake Ontario and accomplish another record. Plus, I'm helping coach my teacher Krista Ten Brinke to swim across Lake Erie. Someday, I'd like to swim across the English Channel or swim a Triple Crown. My mom has said she wants to do those, so I want to do one before she does!
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