Christophe Maleau, a 12-year-old swimming prodigy from Martinique, achieved yet another historic feat over the weekend after he successfully swam from neighboring island, Saint Lucia, to his native country in a challenge that has been attempted by just a few people who were older than him.
The challenging endeavor across the channel took the pre-teen 13 hours, 50 minutes and 47 seconds to complete, starting from the Bay of Saint Lucia at dawn on Saturday and successfully reaching Sainte Anne in Martinique around 6 pm, Loop News Caribbean reports.
In the company of his father who keenly followed him in a canoe as well as doctors and divers and other family members who were in another boat, Maleau, who dreams of swimming at the Olympics, explained he always had his eyes on the prize while in the open sea.
“I held on singing songs to myself, thinking about the encouragement I received on social media,” he said.
Maleau’s commendable milestone was also for a worthy cause as he solely jumped on the challenge to raise awareness on breast cancer and also encourage his mother who is suffering from the disease and is currently in her remission phase, St. Lucia Times reports. The month of October is set aside each year to raise awareness on the disease.
“I was hungry at times during the crossing, I sometimes wanted to stop because I was tired,” Maleau admitted. “But when this idea crossed my mind, I told myself that I had no right. I had to continue for the cause I was defending.”
His father also added: “Christophe got it into his head that he wanted to help cancer patients, so he does it by swimming.”
The young swimmer was welcomed in his home country by a cheering and excited crowd, and medical officials conducted checks on him to ensure he was ok. Maleau joins the likes of fellow accomplished Martiniquan swimmer, Jacques Sicot, as well as French Olympic and European swimming champion, Gilles Rondy, to have successfully swum across that channel.
“It was he who ended up encouraging me,” his father said. “At the end there was swell, bigger waves and of course I was a little worried. But when he looked at me, I felt he was fine. He didn’t want to give up. It was out of the question.”
This isn’t the first time Maleau has accomplished a challenge, St. Lucia Times reports. He completed a 6.4 km swim in 2017 and proceeded to successfully swim between the Martiniquan towns, Diamant and Schoelcher, in the space of 10 hours in 2018.
#Vidéo #Martinique #natation Le jeune Christophe Maleau, 12 ans, a débuté sa traversée Sainte-Lucie-Martinique à 5h10 ce samedi 10 octobre 2020. Il est parti de la baie de Sainte-Lucie et est attendu ce soir à Sainte-Anne à partir de 18 heures. pic.twitter.com/Z3tPs2FAFl— Martiniquela1ère (@Martiniquela1e) October 10, 2020
Christophe Maleau se jette à l’eau pour sa mère et les femmes atteintes du cancer. Il a mis 13h50 pour effectuer la traversée de 40 kilomètres entre Ste-Lucie et la #Martinique ! #OctobreRose #OctobreRose2020 pic.twitter.com/0DOFMWMFx6— Jérémy Edouard (@bienglace) October 11, 2020
Le nageur prodige de #Martinique Christophe Maleau (12 ans) effectue la traversée à la nage??♂️ entre Sainte-Lucie et la Martinique en 13 h 50m et 47 s ??❤️ Ambiance exceptionnelle à son arrivée (vidéo @jcsamyde) https://t.co/1IdjMuyrZX pic.twitter.com/ulG3atYVVa— Martiniquela1ère (@Martiniquela1e) October 10, 2020