Strait across

Pair of Summerside swimmers conquer trek from New Brunswick to PEI

Stephen Brun
Published on August 14, 2012
Summerside natives Carolyn Rowe-Turner (left) and Eva Strongman were happy to be out of the water and back on P.E.I. soil after completing a swim of the Northumberland Strait in four hours and 47 minutes Tuesday morning.
Submitted photo

SUMMERSIDE – Carolyn Rowe-Turner says she'll never look at the Confederation Bridge the same way again.

Swimming across the Northumberland Strait in the bridge's shadow can lend that kind of perspective.

Turner, 43, and fellow Summerside native Eva Strongman, 38, completed the estimated 15-kilometre swim from Cape Jourimain, N.B., to Borden-Carleton in four hours and 47 minutes Tuesday morning.

The friends were reluctant to let the public know about their swim, since it was such a personal challenge.

Turner's husband, John, eventually convinced the duo to share their accomplishment.

"We just had to find the courage to embrace the challenge," said Carolyn, who, along with Strongman, is a member of the Masters Swim Club.

"Last summer we started training, but it just wasn't a great summer weather-wise, and the water was so cold.

"Mother Nature was incredibly kind today. She gave us the absolute best weather you can possibly imagine and the winds were wonderful."

The two had prepared to make the crossing over six hours.

At just under five hours, the pair's swim was among the faster times for any recorded strait crossing.

According to, only five others have broken the five-hour mark over the same approximate distance.

Strongman said part of the reason for the good time was due to the expertise of their navigators, some of whom were also Masters club members.

"We expected the worst, but we really relied on our support team," she said. "For the first five kilometres everything was going well, and then we just weren't moving. They actually took us off course, which is a little unnerving. When you've already swum five kilometres you don't want to add any more on, but in the long run it paid off."

A separate group of seven swimmers from the Halifax area also happened to attempt a Strait swim Tuesday. One person had to abandon the swim, while others were about an hour behind Turner and Strongman.

"If you (catch) the wrong current or you were going in a different direction, it could really play havoc for you," Turner said. "You have to respect the water, and it's easy to get off course."

As for any future open-water swims, Turner wasn't focusing on much else but relaxing after conquering Tuesday's challenge.

Strongman said she'd like to try competitive distance swimming after checking the Northumberland Strait off her "bucket list."

"I don't have the English Channel or anything like that in the back of my mind," she laughed.