Nathalie Pohl Survives, Swims And Smiles Across Tsugaru Channel

Courtesy of Masahide Sano of Channel Swim Japan, Tsugaru Channel, Japan.

Nathalie Pohl made it safely to the start of her Tsugaru Channel attempt this morning at 2:16 am.

10 hours 9 minutes 40 seconds later, she made it safely and successfully across the channel from the Kodomari peninsula in Aomori Prefecture to the shores of Hokkaido in northern Japan.

Her smile and relief were palpable.

Guided by Adam Walker and coach Joshua Neloh, Pohl had one of the most unusual and unfortunate experiences among channel swimmers in recent times.

Last August en route to her start on the Kodomari peninsula, her escort boat captain crashed his boat into unseen rocks.

It was a freak accident as Captain Mizushima had escorted several dozens of swimmers and relays across the Tsugaru Channel over the years and fishes daily in its waters as his primary job.

Walker wrote last year, “I can’t believe I’m writing this…the swim didn’t go ahead for Nathalie as the boat crashed into rocks on route to the start. Everyone is ok, if not slightly bruised and in shock. Nathalie banged her side and has rib pain so we need to check her out. The pilot was unconscious for a few minutes, but fortunately I was able to wake him up. He has gone off in an ambulance, he hurt his collarbone and has gone to hospital. The boat had to be towed. 

Of course, the swim is cancelled and of course very disappointed for Nathalie.”

Walker later updated his report from the accident, “Nathalie ribs were x-rayed in Japan and shows a bad bruised, but no break. The pilot has a broken collarbone and will undergo surgery in a few days.”

Steven Munatones recalled speaking with Pohl’s father, “Nathalie, Coach Neloh and her father were really – and rightly – very shook up and upset. It was quite an unexpected – and unheard of – accident. But they immediately started planning for her return.”

A year later, Pohl has every right to be proud of her return and her triumphant 10 hour 9 minute crossing of the Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido.

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