67 km of Belgian coastline swum in record time
Marieke Blomme is never afraid to take on a big challenge, like that of swimming along our coastline. She was the first woman to jump into the sea at De Panne and back out at Knokke-Heist, after only 18 hours and 45 minutes. A new and double record.
Marieke Blomme, the 40-year-old triathlete and multiple Belgian open water swimming champion from Mariakerke near Ghent, had her start on Monday postponed by two days due to bad weather. But on Wednesday 18 August, the time had come. Determined to succeed and if possible to improve by 5 hours on the previous record of 23 hours, set on 20 September 2020 by Matthieu Bonne of Bremen, she left the beach at 7:11am and headed north-east. At first, she was going full speed ahead and was soon 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Later, the numerous waves, especially near the Zeebrugge wall, tempered her optimism. Was it still safe and responsible? She thought about giving up. After this almost insurmountable obstacle, she was driven the last few miles by her autopilot and the sheer motivation to draw attention to and donations for The Homestretch Foundation and Snowbility, which advocate for equal opportunity in sport. On Thursday morning, at about 2am, her heroic and glorious swim ended after 18 hours and 45 minutes.
The overriding feelings? The happiness of having arrived safely, that her goal was reached and ... that she swam enough for a whole year.