Katie Blair, Ted Lomicka, Chris Allshouse To Attempt St. Lucia Channel Swims
Around the world the effects of COVID-19 pandemic have been felt in many ways. While people can note many negatives caused by the pandemic, there are some positives that come out of it as well – especially in the world of marathon or long distance open water swimming.
While pools were closed for months – and in some areas of the world still are closed – swimmers have taken to lakes, rivers, and seas to continue their favorite sport. Whether this is for exercise, to maintain training, or pure enjoyment of becoming one with nature, swimming is a sport of multiple benefits.
As many in Saint Lucia – and around the world – will recall, on September 13th 2019, Cameron Bellamy left the shores of St Peter’s Bay on Barbados and swam a 150 km expanse of open sea. He arrived in Moule a Chique, Saint Lucia on September 15th after 56 hours 55 minutes. On the heels of the one-year anniversary since Bellamy swam from Barbados to Saint Lucia, more endurance athletes are looking to come to Saint Lucia.
St. Lucia Channel Swim is gearing up for a number of swim attempts this October and November. The channel swim is 33 km from Saint Lucia to Martinique. Since 2018, this warm water channel has been completed 3 times over 5 attempts including an attempt by Ross Edgley while towing a 100-lb tree trunk. Comparable to the English Channel in its distance and location between two iconic land masses, the St Lucia Channel can boast of its warmer waters, less boat traffic, and cleaner seas. These are desirable attributes to many open water swimmers training for longer distances and/or channel swims around the world.
The first swim in October will be a historic two-way crossing. Katie Blair will be the first person to attempt to swim from Saint Lucia to Martinique and back to Saint Lucia. In November, Edward “Ted” Lomicka and Chris Allshouse will each attempt swimming from Saint Lucia to Martinique at separate times. These two swims will take place just weeks apart.
Katie Blair is a 41-year-old mother and lifelong swimmer from Germany who is currently studying for her PhD in Performance Psychology. She is also writing a book that details her experiences in the open water that includes swims in the English Channel, Catalina Channel, and Molokai Channel as well as circumnavigations of Manhattan Island and Key West.
Edward Lomicka is a Ironman triathlete – 29 times over – who completed the 3-day Ultraman World Championship, a 3-day 516.5 km triathlon that circumnavigates the Big Island in Hawaii. He also twice completed the FKCC Swim Around Key West.
Chris Allshouse is the 50-year-old lifelong competitive swimmer who lives on a lake in Ohio which gave rise to his love of open water swimming. Allshouse has had the opportunity to compete in multiple Ironman events. “None of this is possible without my family by my side, he says.
Sue Dyson is the primary driver of the St Lucia Channel Swim with the support of the Chief Medical Officer and Environmental Health teams. She explains, “2020 was to be the 3rd annual St Lucia Channel Swim Event which includes not only attempts from Saint Lucia to Martinique, but also open water clinics and shorter distances races. Due to the unprecedented times, we had to cancel the group gatherings for 2020. Luckily, solo swims are able to now move forward.
These have been trying times for everyone. We are glad to have an opportunity for those endurance swimmers to continue with their dreams of channel and long distance swims. With travel restrictions around the world, it has been difficult for many swimmers to continue with their dreams during 2020.
As in the past years, each solo swim is organized through collective efforts with the Ministry of Youth Development & Sports, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, the Marine Police Unit, Emergency Services, SLASPA, and the Ministry of Tourism. These swims will be no different.
Planning these swims has not been easy due to restrictions both in Saint Lucia and Martinique. We are thankful to have the support from local authorities as well as the officials in Martinique to make these swims happen. We look forward to successful attempts for all swimmers. I must note, despite the swimmer doing the hard work, it is a team effort for the success of any swim. Without our local captains and support crew, we could not attempt these swims.
The concept for the original event was initiated to promote water safety, awareness of open water swimming, and keeping clean seas and beaches. Participants usually come from various areas of the region as well as locally. We are hopeful for the return of the St Lucia Channel Swim Event in 2021 as well as local and regional participants..”
Blair, Lomicka, and Allshouse will attempt to join the following swimmers who have completed this St. Lucia Channel crossing from St. Lucia to Martinique including Jacques Sicot who pioneered the swim:
1. Jacques Sicot ~12 hours in 1988
2. Yann Richard in 11 hours 50 minutes in May 2006
3. Molly Nance in 13 hours 56 minutes on May 16th 2018
4. Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist in 10 hours 37 minutes on July 7th 2019
5. Kevin Pollman in 12 hours 50 minutes on July 7th 2019
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