At precisely 5am one May Sunday morning, 21-year-old Yann Richard set off from Smugglers Beach close to St Lucia’s Le Sport for Martinique. Considered the ultimate challenge for long-distance swimmers from both Martinique and St Lucia all eyes were on young Yann. 11hrs 50 minutes and 40km later Yann and his support group received a jubilant welcome in their Eurobbean home!
Yann’s desire to bridge the gap between the two countries—as well as strengthen relations—certainly attracted some lofty attention.
A press conference held the previous day at Bay Gardens Inn Richards was introduced to officials and the media.
Special guests included St Lucia’s Consul in Martinique, Cassius Elias; French Ambassador, Bernard Venzo and local swimming officials.
Elias said: “I am sure what I call the inspirations swim will bring some positive elements in the St Lucian community among the young people who are involved in drug free and crime abatement,” said Elias. “I am sure this is not the end of the long cooperation and spirit we have been trying to develop between Martinique and St Lucia.”
Elias feels this swim from St Lucia to Martinique can become something big.
Next year he ís counting on countries like Guadeloupe and Dominica to promote this event and continue to encourage young people to do more positive things in the area of sports and cultural exchange.
Ambassador Venzo was also impressed with the young man and what he referred to as a symbolic swim.
“This is strong symbol by this Frenchman who comes to St Lucia to make a physical link between the two islands which are already so close,” said Venzo. I must express my gratitude to Yan for attempting this very difficult crossing of the channel.”