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These Bretons crossed the Channel in swimsuits!

For all those who find it difficult to swim in Brittany, in summer, when the sea is at 17 degrees, the performance carried out on Wednesday between Dover (England) and Cape Gris-Nez (Pas-de-Calais), by four sea ​​swimming enthusiasts, is incomprehensible, unimaginable, even mad.

Human and sporting adventure

Claude Broudeur (53 years old, Plourin-Ploudalmézeau), Pierre Monfort (51 years old, Trégunc), Gilles Rondy (41 years old, Brest) and Gaëtan Calvar (28 years old, Lorient) are not fish but almost. Their thing is swimming in open water, away from overheated pools. And they swim without wetsuits, only in swimsuits. The cold they have learned to deal with and somehow they love it.

Claude Broudeur swims between cargo ships (Photo La 8e compagnie)

La Manche, Everest for swimmers

The four swimmers have worn out more than one swimsuit and covered thousands of kilometres. The most experienced of them is Gilles Rondy. The ex-Brestois, exiled in the Basque Country, notably participated in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Claude Broudeur is the initiator of the project for this crossing of the Channel in relay. He had no trouble convincing his friends to join him for this human and sporting adventure. The Channel crossing, nicknamed the Everest of swimmers, is highly regulated and the quartet only obtained authorization for the end of May. “It’s a date that doesn’t interest swimmers very much, because the water is very cold at that time,” explains Claude Broueur.

When we get out of the water, we are cold and we are seized with tremors. It takes a good hour and a half to warm up

And that’s how the four of them ended up in Dover, Wednesday, at 3 a.m. In the middle of the night, the experienced Gilles Rondy, the only one to have already crossed the English Channel, was the first to jump into the water and swim for an hour before passing the baton. Forty-four kilometers later, covered in 10 hours and 10 minutes, the quartet, nicknamed “The 8th company”, won their bet, setting a new French record.

Claude Broudeur during his last stint
Claude Broueur during his last stint (Photo La 8e compagnie)

“We had a lot of fun and we had a lot of fun. We were as euphoric as if we had won the Football Champions League, ”says Claude Broueur, without hiding the difficulties due to the cold. “When you get out of the water, you’re freezing and you’re shaking. It takes a good hour and a half to warm up. And at that point, you have to start getting ready to get back in the water. »

An extreme sensation

“The symptoms are different for each swimmer, confides Gilles Rondy: blood circulation difficulties for me, tremors for Claude, general cold for Pierre, seasickness and vomiting for Gaëtan. » Swimming in cold water cannot be improvised. It is learned. Claude Broueur does it all year round, including winter when the water is at eight degrees. “The cold is an extreme sensation. It’s part of the open water and it’s something you almost end up enjoying. And since they like the cold, the four friends celebrated their feat by treating themselves to a beer… very cold, of course.

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letelegramme Fr Trans

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