Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pa. Woman Recalls Exhausting Swim across Lake Erie in '93

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pa. Woman Recalls Exhausting Swim across Lake Erie in '93

Article excerpt

NORTH EAST, Pa. -- Halli Reid sat in front of a cozy fire as Steven Wargo emerged onto Freeport Beach in North East in the early morning hours of Aug. 1.

Ms. Reid couldn't relax. She understood the pain Mr. Wargo felt during every stroke and the sting he endured from the chilly water.

She understood the doubts that may have crept into the South Euclid, Ohio, native's mind on his way to becoming the 17th person to swim across Lake Erie.

Ms. Reid has been there, done that.

On Aug. 9, 1993, Ms. Reid overcame the cold water, the intense pain in her shoulder and thoughts of quitting to finish what she called "the hardest thing I have ever done in my life." Ms. Reid, the first woman and fourth person overall to complete that swim, recalled thoughts of her 17-hour, 24-mile trek as Mr. Wargo completed his swim shortly after 4 a.m. Aug. 1.

Wesleyville resident Mike Ferritto had finished his swim at Freeport Beach about seven hours earlier.

Memories have arisen in Ms. Reid's mind each time someone has completed the swim over the past 20 years.

Actually, they are on the North East native's mind every morning as she walks along Freeport Beach, especially as she reaches the spot where she capped a two-year journey that began in local swimming pools.

That spot, Ms. Reid said, is a stone's throw from her home at the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek.

Ms. Reid has come a long way since the daily training sessions for that endeavor.

Back then, Ms. Reid was a 24-year-old college graduate, YMCA swim coach and part-time employee at her family's lumber yard.

She had enough free time to spend two years preparing for the challenge.

She was inspired to reach her goal after watching Bob North and Harvey Snell swim across Lake Erie four years earlier.

Ms. Reid also was motivated to become the first woman to finish that swim. …

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