Annaleise Carr ended her effort early Saturday morning at Long Point, Ont., short of Port Dover where she had initially planned to celebrate the end of a 75-kilometre marathon swim.
"The whole time we had one-to-four-feet waves so that was a big challenge for everyone," she said.
Carr said the weather didn't co-operate in general, but that the waters were warmer than when she crossed Lake Ontario.
Two years ago, the native of Walsh, Ont., swam across Lake Ontario at the age of 14, becoming the youngest person known to have accomplished the feat.
"With Lake Ontario it was only six hours I had the really bad waves," she said.
Her swim on Lake Erie was expected to last about 30 hours, but she stopped short of her goal.
Carr said it was a tough decision, but it was the right call.
She said she was "excited" to reach the shore.
"I was pretty hungry at the end so I was excited to eat," she said, with a laugh, adding that she felt "tired and sore but good."
"When I came out I had a six-hour sleep," she said.
She is still considering the swim a success, having raised around $150,000 for Camp Trillium, a childhood cancer support centre.
Carr became passionate about the organization in 2011, when she first did a 10-kilometre swim fundraiser for the camp.
"Just seeing all the kids and the families smiling and laughing and having such a good time, how all of them could forget what was going on outside of this camp made me really want to do something more to help," she said.
But Carr can't volunteer at the camp until she turns 18, she said, so she decided to raise funds instead.
On Sunday she was received at Camp Trillium and said she was "happy" to thank everyone for their support.
Now she has her sights set on finishing the missing leg of the trip from Long Point to Port Dover, but said her team is "still figuring out details."