Marathon swimmer completes 100km journey for brain research


Longest unassisted open water swim in Canada or by a Canadian

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Marathon swimmer Sean Nuttall swam 100 km from Toronto to St. Catharines and back nonstop, in 42 hours, to raise money for brain research at the University of Toronto.

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It is the longest unassisted open water swim in Canada or by a Canadian, and the eighth longest unassisted swim on record in the world.

An unaided swim is done without the aid of tides or currents, a wetsuit, or flotation devices.

Nuttall, who started swimming last Friday at Toronto’s Budapest Park near Parkdale, says all he could think about was putting one arm in front of the other.

On Tuesday, he said he was still in recovery mode after swimming.

“I’ve done long runs before, but that’s on a whole other level,” Nuttall said.

He had been training continuously since crossing the English Channel last summer.

The race was designed to raise funds for the Tanz Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at the University of Toronto, a world leader in scientific research into debilitating brain disorders.

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Marathon swimmer Sean Nuttall.  PROVIDED
Marathon swimmer Sean Nuttall. PROVIDED

“This case is incredibly personal to me. My father, a criminal defense attorney in Toronto, died five years ago last August after an extremely brief battle with an unidentified neurodegenerative disease. In November 2016, he completed a complex jury trial. In February 2017, just three months later, he was in the emergency room in a psychiatric ward, ”said Nuttall, who was born and raised in Toronto but is now a public defense lawyer in New York. York.


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“By May he had largely lost the ability to speak, and by August he was gone. With few treatment options, all my family and I could do during this nightmarish time was watch, trying to adapt to each heartbreaking new phase and afford what little comfort we could.

Nuttall hopes to raise $50,000. Donations can be made to

“No donation is too small; every little bit counts,” he said.

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