The swimmer Nicholas Knap has never been afraid of challenges. It will add a new one on his list on the 15 August next, when he will attempt to wrest The Isle-aux-Coudres to swim in extreme conditions from Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive, a feat that no one has ever accomplished.
With nearly one hundred events open water swims to his credit, including the famous crossing 15 km of the strait of Gibraltar in the past year between the european and african continents, the French original will need all his experience to succeed in his project which is a tribute to Jacques Amyot, a pioneer of the sport in Quebec, and to the rowers.
If the distance of 3.5 km is nothing for the scare, the freezing temperatures oscillating between 10 °C and 12 °C in summer in this part of the river St. Lawrence and the sea currents make the complex experience.
Nicholas Knap, who will be assisted by a team of four persons from the organization of the Great Crossing by canoe to ice Charlevoix, jump in the water without a combination of thermal (wetsuit) in order to have his feat registered by the Marathon Swimmers Federation. It expects to reach the quai de L’isle-aux-Coudres in sixty minutes.
“He must leave confident, but we don’t know what can happen. But as I tell everyone, it is an experience, but in open water, you may be ready, it can happen anything ! ” lance smiling, the 47-year-old in an interview to the Newspaper on the edge of the bay of Beauport.
“[…] These are very strong currents which may go up to 10 km/h. Then, there is the maritime traffic and the ferries, it is necessary to play with all of it and it is something special. You can’t do it alone. “
The first swimmer to complete the crossing of the lake Saint-Jean and the first in Quebec to cross the English channel in the mid-1950s, Jacques Amyot would have tried to get to the island without success in the 1960s, according to research from Nicolas Knap.
Risks of hypothermia
The idea germinated in his head when he lived in the Charlevoix region. Citizen of Quebec in the past five years, he is preparing in the swimming pool a dozen sessions per week “to catch up” is caused by the pandemic COVID-19. Before the re-opening of aquatic centers, interiors, he was training in the lakes of the region and sometimes even in the river.
Even if he is used to swimming in the cold water, he is aware that his body could collapse at any moment and fall into a state of hypothermia
“It can happen very quickly and unexpectedly. We are up for it. I have the habit, but I’m not immune to anything. I love it when the water is a bit cool, but like everyone else, I hate to take cold showers ! But in the natural environment, it has no choice and I go there “, he mentioned.
There was no question for him to put on the neoprene suit, which is mandatory from 2017 when the water is between 16 and 18 degrees in the races of the CHAMPIONSHIPS.
“The true discipline, open water swimming, it is without combination. Jacques Amyot was not of combination in the 1950s and 1960s, ” said Knap, who wishes to be in parallel to the promotion of the sport.
► It will be possible to follow live the progress of the voyage on its website thanks to a GPS tag.