Saint Lucia-Martinique Channel Swim: Molly Nance to chance the course next week

Image of Marathon swimmer Molly Nance (Photo: MN)
Marathon swimmer Molly Nance (Photo: MN)

IF you were born before 2000, you would have heard the stories of a man from Martinique called Jacques Sicot, who swam from Saint Lucia to Martinique.

Undoubtedly, you most recently heard about Ross Edgley attempting to swim from Saint Lucia to Martinique towing a 100-lb tree trunk and when he didn’t complete the swim, there weren’t too many surprised persons. But despite all that, marathon swimming or channel swimming is becoming the norm.

In 2008, Steve Munatones dubbed ‘The seven MUST swim channels or straits’ of the world as “Oceans 7”. Each of these channels has its own challenges, besides cold water temperatures. Strait of Gibraltar is one of the shorter distance swims on the list.

With over 300 cargo vessels passing daily through the strait and high winds (Morocco is the windsurfing capital of the world), you can imagine what a feat this would be. However, don’t plan to swim Gibraltar soon – there is a 3 year waiting list.

Ka’iwi Channel in Hawaii is one of the longest distances, boasting warm waters and the threat of sharks. There are firm times of the year that it is not wise to attempt this channel, leaving the window for completion narrow. The most recent completion in April 2018 puts them right at 60 successes.

The English Channel is the most recognized and most popular to swim. It has been attempted over 7,000 times in recorded history. With 2,228 successful completions since 1875, more persons have completed the English Channel than climbed Mount Everest!

With cold water temperatures to acclimatize to and a minimum of 2-year waiting list, swimmers still flock to the shores of Dover year after year.

Over the next week, you will hear more about a couple of swimmers joining in these adventures right here in Saint Lucia.

Image of Marathon swimmer Molly Nance (Photo: MN)
Marathon swimmer Molly Nance (Photo: MN)

Today, we begin with Molly Nance, who arrived in Saint Lucia today. She is a 52-year-old marathon swimmer from Lincoln, Nebraska who swam competitively throughout youth and high school. Now at 40, she joined U.S. Masters Swimming competed in masters swim meets.

After reading “The Great Swim” about the first women attempting to swim the English Channel, Molly was inspired and set that as her goal.

After learning about a warm-water swim the same distance as the English Channel, Molly was motivated to liaise with folks in Saint Lucia to make this dream come true!

Using the weather as a determining factor next week, the one-day event will see Molly swim from Saint Lucia to Martinique between Tuesday 15th and Thursday 17th with the support of her husband Paul, Bruce Hackshaw and Captain Mike’s, Nathaniel Waring and Sue Dyson.

The 18.3 miles route (32 kilometres) could take 13 to 15 hours to complete –depending on various factors, including her average speed swimming.

This swim will lead-off what is becoming the newest sports tourism event in Saint Lucia.

With support from the Department of Youth and Sports, The Ministry of Tourism, Events Company Saint Lucia, Nathaniel Waring and Sue Dyson, it will be a much larger scale event to be held annually and will include much shorter distances, inviting local and regional participation.

Meanwhile, the official launch of the inaugural Saint Lucia-Martinique Channel Swim is scheduled for Friday 18 May. The channel swim is scheduled for July 6-8 and is in collaboration with the Department of Youth Development and Sports, the Ministry of Tourism and Events Saint Lucia.

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