Tuesday, 15 September 2020
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.
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Sunrise. A new day. After a rough and heavy night. Matthieu has been swimming now for almost 16 hours, of which 11 hours (for now) counter current. It’s not only physically challenging but surely mentally challenging. The part between Bredene and De Haan was a dark tunnel, no light but the one on the boat, no human being except for the crew. But he pushes through, the sun will get warmer and the mood will get lighter. You can still support Matth’s good cause and him and make a donation doing the following: Name: Belgian Coast Swim 2020 IBAN: BE32 9733 9392 3502 #BelgianCoastSwim🌊🇧🇪
A post shared by Matthieu Bonne ⚔ Kamp Waes (@bonheurmatth) on
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.
The Brussels Times