World record: Belgian man swims along country coast in under 24 hours
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World record: Belgian man swims along country coast in under 24 hours

Credit: Matthieu Bonne/Facebook

A 26-year-old Belgian swimmer has become the first person ever to complete a swim along the Belgian coast in under 24 hours.

Matthieu Bonne from the Flemish town of Bredene swam along the country’s 67-kilometre coastline in 23 hours and 3 minutes, in a fund-raising feat which required he kept a constant rhythm of 3 kilometres per hour.

The 26-year-old extreme sports enthusiast plunged into the waters of De Panne, near French border, on Monday afternoon and arrived in the northern resort town of Knokke-Heist at around 3:00 PM on Tuesday.

Bonne’s journey took him along some of Belgium’s main coastal cities and earned him praise from supporters both on and offline.

Videos posted on his social media show bystanders in his hometown of Bredene cheering him along as he swam into view at around 2:00 AM on Tuesday, in what Bonne described as “possibly the most amazing moment” of his career.

“No words can describe what went through my head at that moment,” he wrote on Instagram.

His coach Stefaan Maene said that Bredene’s feat was a challenge which required rigorous planning and organisation, such as food breaks every 20 minutes, as well as intense preparation to face the challenges that were bound to emerge.

“It was very difficult for him last night,” Maene said. “He was not making good progress due to the current and it was completely dark in De Haan.”

Despite the sunny weather, Maene said the waters of the North Sea were at a temperature of 18 degrees, which he said was “really cold for such a swim.”

Half of the funds raised via his feat, which will earn him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, will be donated to the Make a Wish Foundation, Bonne said online.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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