News Local

Tangney tests his mettle today

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

Mark Wanzel Photo - Liam Tangney, 13, of Barrie, is swimming across Lake Simcoe today to raise money for the Hospital for Sick Children.

Mark Wanzel Photo - Liam Tangney, 13, of Barrie, is swimming across Lake Simcoe today to raise money for the Hospital for Sick Children.

Liam Tangney wants to do something on Saturday no other teenager has done: swim across Lake Simcoe.

After endless hours training in the waters of Kempenfelt Bay, the 13-year-old Trillium Woods Elementary School student will enter the waters off Beaverton on the lake's east side at 4 a.m. to begin his 40-kilometre swim.

No one Liam's age has swam the lake, according to his father, Syd Tangney.

"Especially the extra 14 kilometres up Kempenfelt Bay to Centennial Beach," he says.

The teen is making the gruelling swim to raise money for the Hospital for Sick Children.

"I've always wanted to help kids and I've always wanted to break a world's record. I've always thought it would be cool to be in the books for something," he said. "Sick Kids has helped out a lot of kids. A lot of people I know say the hospital has helped their son or daughter or niece or nephew, so I thought I'd help them."

Liam has been helping youngsters since he was a youngster himself. Right now, he's working with special needs kids at the YMCA and he wants to start taking sign language lessons next week.

But training for the big day has taken up a lot of his time lately, says Syd.

"Liam and I are down at the bay every other night. He swims from the (Centennial Beach) fountain to Minet's Point, about four or five kilometres," he says. "We have him doing some weight training and he's on a strict fish and carb diet. No junk, no fats and (lots of) high protein.

"We've spent the last week loading up on carbs."

The father-and-son team has even taken into account what time of the morning he has to set out on his journey.

"We've adjusted our sleep cycle over the last month to be ready on the day of the swim," he added.

Liam will be wearing a state-of-the-art suit for his swim, courtesy of Running Free.

"It's a full-body wetsuit for warmth. Its quality is very stretchy (for ease of swimming). It's a long swim in the lake and it can be pretty cold," he said, adding that he'll be paddling a kayak, supplied by Without a Paddle, alongside his son during the swim.

The pair will also be accompanied by a powerboat for added safety.

Liam says the hours of training on the bay and in the Barrie 'Y' pool with his swimming coach, Sheldon Barker-Morales, are paying off, resulting in some changes.

"My body's gotten a lot stronger and more muscular," he said, adding the hours in the waters of Lake Simcoe won't be anything like laps in the pool when he suddenly grows a little fatigued.

"I won't be able to grab onto the wall of a pool. You have to stop, tread water and use your strength to keep yourself up."

The Tangneys aren't sure what time on Saturday Liam will haul himself up onto Centennial Beach.

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