Something to prove

Ontario woman swims Northumberland Strait for second time

Colin MacLean
Published on August 13, 2014

SUMMERSIDE – There was a point on Wednesday, half-way between Borden-Carleton and Cape Jourimain, swimming hard but not going anywhere, where Jessica Fraser-Thomas thought maybe she could have found another way to mark turning 40.


It wasn’t as if she had anything to prove.

It’s not like she hadn’t made the more than 13-kilometer swim before.

In fact, 13 years, five kids, a PhD and a tenured professorship ago she’d made the crossing in good time.

But she’d told herself she was going to make it again, so she kept swimming, and swimming and swimming.

Eventually the currents shifted enough that she was able to start making some headway and she was on her way again.

It took four hours and 15 minutes, but she made it.

 “This was a combination of a personal goal and recognizing some milestones in my own life. But also very much in combination with my passion for Strong Kids and wanting to do it for Strong Kids, ” said the Halifax native.

Though Fraser-Thomas didn’t do much to promote her swim here, she did do a fundraising campaign back in home in Cobourg, Ontario. She called it Northumberland Strait to P.E.I. and raised $5,000 for the YMCA’s Strong Kids campaign. It’s a cause near to hear heart as a mom and her profession as a kinesiologist and researcher.

The swim itself went great, she said, her kids were on a nearby lobster boat cheering her on all the way and she had support kayakers following her all along.

Though it was a different experience than back in 2001, she said.

“I probably did more training last time – just with family and work I didn’t have the time to do the same amount of training, but I’d still felt like I’d done enough.

“And I mean I’m older and wiser? More experience? Had the confidence that I could do it, I guess,” she laughed.

Fraser-Thomas and her family will be staying on the Island for the next few days before leaving to do some more travelling.

She intends to stick around long enough to see her sister off on her own strait crossing adventure this Sunday when she joins the group of 49 people in The Big Swim who are crossing the strait that morning.