A Kitchener woman has swam across Lake Erie in treacherous conditions to raise money for an organization supporting youth mental health.

Coralee Allaert, 22, swam 19.2 kilometers over eight hours on Thursday from Sturgeon Point, New York, to Crystal Beach, Ontario.

"The swim was very challenging," she said. "Mentally, physically, and emotionally."

The swim also had to be rescheduled several times due to inclement weather, but fourth time was the charm.

"I'm happy to say I conquered Lake Erie successfully in eight hours and 50 minutes," said Allaert. "It's pretty surreal, but I did it."

At certain points, weather changed and forced her to battle six foot waves and 30 km/h winds.

"I've seen veterans in our sport that wouldn't have been able to manage to what she did," said swim pilot and coach Christine Arseneault, who was part of the team that followed along and tracked her strokes. "She didn't waiver. I thought, 'this young lady is chipping away at this, she's doing this, so there's no reason, unless something comes up, there's no reason we have to end this.'

"When they see that and they look at what she's doing, it's inspiring. It's needed."

Allaert was able to raise over $8,000 for youth mental health charity jack.org.

"I have my own struggles and I know youth out there have their own struggles too," she said. "Being their voice for those youth that are no longer with us today kept me going forward."

Allaert hopes to swim across Lake Ontario in August.