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Local swimmer giving back with marathon swim

Tori Niittynen-Dreifelds is doing a 10-kilometre swim on June 28 at the Lakehead University pool to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House of Southwestern Ontario.

THUNDER BAY – In September of 2021, Tori Niittynen-Dreifelds was a patient at the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre.

During her week’s stay at the hospital, she and her family got to experience firsthand the importance of the Ronald McDonald House of Southwestern Ontario.

Three years later, the Grade 10 International Baccalaureate (IB) student at Superior Collegiate & Vocational Institute is giving back.

The swimmer for the Northwest Narwhal Swim Club will be embarking on a 10-kilometre swim at 6 a.m. on June 28 at the Lakehead University pool to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House.

“Each year we have the opportunity to complete a CAS (Creative, Activity and Service) fundraising project and I chose Ronald McDonald House because of how much it means for my entire family,” Niittynen-Dreifelds said.

“I also have many friends that have been touched by Ronald McDonald House and I want to do my part to try and help as many families as I can.

“The charity holds such a special place in my heart, and so does swimming, so I thought it would be really cool if I could be able to tie them both together while making a difference.”

Since she’s been practicing for her swim season with the Narwhals since September, it wasn’t a major change to Niittynen-Dreifelds’ training routine when she decided to do the 10 km swim in February.

However, she’s been preparing herself for the fact that she will be swimming for around two-and-a-half hours.

“That’s going to be a bit of a challenge, especially to keep count of how far I’ve gone during all of that time,” Niittynen-Dreifelds said. “However, I’ll be using my smart goggles to keep track of the whole 10 km distance the whole time to ensure that I complete the whole thing.

“I might also take a break every couple (of) 1000-metres for a sip of water, but I’ll be swimming continuously for that whole two-and-a-half hours.”

Narwhals head coach David Iwanyszyn said the work that Niittynen-Dreifelds has done in her training all season should easily prepare her for her long swim.

“It’s a very exciting time,” Iwanyszyn added. “Tori is a very competitive swimmer and she’s worked very hard to raise money for a good cause.”

As of June 21, Niittynen-Dreifelds has raised $3,660, with donations being accepted until Aug. 31.

“It’s been awesome to be able to work with Ronald McDonald House, my coaches, my family and everyone else who has come on board with this fundraiser,” Niittynen-Dreifelds said. “This has been an amazing experience.

"I also feel so grateful to have the immense support of my coaches David and Dan Daly of Train Daly. I couldn't have done it without them."

Anyone who is looking to donate to Niittynen-Dreifelds’ fundraiser can do so at the following link.

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