Cameron Bellamy - Barbados to St Lucia swim

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited September 16 in Cheering Section

Cameron Bellamy, whose swim around Barbados last year was recognized as MSF's Solo Swim of the Year, will attempt another huge swim in the next couple weeks. Barbados to St Lucia is a minimum of 90 miles, but the straight-line distance of his actual start and finish locations may exceed 100 miles. They are promoting this as the "longest channel swim," which is accurate because Cuba-Florida (103 miles) has never been done unassisted.

Press release copied below.


South African ultra-endurance athlete, Cameron Bellamy owns an exceptional sporting resume. He has completed the Oceans Seven swims, rowed across the Indian Ocean and swam around the island of Barbados. Now, after months of arduous training where he logged innumerable hours swimming every week, he is in the final days of preparation for an extreme endurance test: a 100-mile Swim across the open ocean from Barbados to St Lucia.

The initial plan for 2019 was to attempt a swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. Cameron put in the rigorous training, spent considerable time researching the past attempts, secured a support boat and assembled a global support crew to join him on the swim. However, in late August, the permission required for the support boat to enter Cuban waters was denied by the US Government, based on the more stringent regulations enacted in June 2019.

Despite this extremely disappointing setback, Cameron, who hasn’t given up on his Cuba swim dream, continued his “crazy” swim schedule including two recent 24-hour training swims and devised an incredible alternate plan. Plan B: pioneering a new swim route between Barbados and St. Lucia – this will be the longest channel swim ever. The distance is about 100 miles or 160K, a comparable distance to the Cuba Swim but in Bellamy’s words: “Its trickier than the Florida Straits in myriad ways.”

In November 2018, Bellamy, completed the highly complex circumnavigation of the island of Barbados, swimming a gruelling 60 miles around the jagged coastline in 40 hours and 43 minutes. Earlier in 2018, Bellamy, a World Record holder in ocean rowing, had earned the Oceans Seven title for swimming the world’s seven toughest channels.

The “Swim Around Barbados” was a highly significant, defining moment in the life of athlete extraordinaire, Cameron Bellamy. The fourth longest non-stop, unassisted sea swim ever was completed under imperfect conditions including fourteen plus hours of adverse currents, detours due to large swells, a powerful squall and frequent backwash from cliffs. But Bellamy, a man who exemplifies the very definition of perseverance, drew on his steely resolve, maintained an uncanny focus and similar stroke rate throughout and with his sheer determination defeated the unforgiving seas after almost two days of swimming. This outstanding success announced the arrival of a serious contender for conquering the world’s longest and most difficult open water swims.

The start of the Barbados to St Lucia swim is tentatively scheduled for September 15 and is dependent on a suitable “weather window” - a period of at least three days when favourable conditions are predicted. The swim could take between fifty and sixty hours to complete and real time tracking will be available online.

Sara_WolfStLucia_ChannelIronMikeBogdanZMvGSuperfishSkellyton

Comments

  • StLucia_ChannelStLucia_Channel Saint Lucia Member

    Just hoping we can get that 3 day weather window. Not looking so good right now.

    BogdanZ
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 12

    Cameron is a "GO" for tomorrow (Friday Sept 13) at 0800 Barbados time (same as New York).

    https://track.rs/cameron

    slknightBogdanZPasqualeStLucia_Channel
  • MvGMvG Islamabad, PakistanCharter Member

    So impressed with this swim. With Sarah the Royal Swim Couple. Rooting hard for both of them.

    curlyPaigeKiedingStLucia_ChannelSoloflystormsLakeBaggerSkellyton
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 14

    about that:

    they were pitching this to certain media outlets and wondering what to call it.

    It wouldn't be the longest overall open water swim (nonstop, unassisted, current neutral) - that is @ssthomas. It wouldn't be the longest sea swim - that is Veljko Rogosic. And it's unclear whether the Barbados-St Lucia route has a significant current assist, therefore unclear whether it's comparable to Chloe's 77-mile Bahamas swim.

    So I suggested "longest channel swim" - which is accurate regardless of the current assist.

    Unfortunately the issue is now complicated by Cameron's previously undisclosed plan to use a stinger suit.

    BogdanZIronMike
  • BogdanZBogdanZ Bucharest, RomaniaMember

    @evmo said:
    Unfortunately the issue is now complicated by Cameron's previously undisclosed plan to use a stinger suit.

    I saw in the pics he uses jammers. You mean those?

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 16

    He started with jammers. But according to a Munatones blog post, "Bellamy will wear his FINIS-made custom stinger suit from before sunset to after sunrise."

    It will be interesting to hear whether he is able to put it on himself on while treading water, or whether he requires assistance from crew.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    “And it's unclear whether the Barbados-St Lucia route has a significant current assist, therefore unclear whether it's comparable to Chloe's 77-mile Bahamas swim.”

    With the addition of a stinger suit, I don’t think anyone can claim this swim is anywhere comparable to Chloe’s Bahamas swim..... although WOWSA might.

    evmoBogdanZrlmMvGIronMikeStephenlakespray

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    As someone who is a purist, I agree that the stinger suit changes the nature of the attempt. However in all fairness to Cameron, he did declare it and as far as we know right now, he did adhere to the rules governing "unassisted" in its use. He did not do anything to fake his way across. In my eyes, it was still a pretty great swim and I don't think we should overlook that fact. Yes, we can argue relentlessly over what it compares to, but I'd kind of like to take a moment and recognize that it was one heck of a swim any way you look at it.

    MvGslknightflystormsSoloPasqualeStephenLynneEyalSchkejoyceLakeBaggerand 6 others.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @curly said:
    As someone who is a purist, I agree that the stinger suit changes the nature of the attempt. However in all fairness to Cameron, he did declare it and as far as we know right now, he did adhere to the rules governing "unassisted" in its use.

    As long as he was able to put it on himself...and how does declaring the stinger suit = unassisted?

    flystorms

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • RanieRanie Orinda, CAMember

    I think we should wait for the swim report. What Cam did is awesome and amazing! If he felt that he needed a stinger suit for safety, he’s probably right. After all he made it! He swam a damn long challenging swim in very warm water! Three cheers for Cam! I am so proud of our marathon swimming community! Sarah and Cam have redefined possible! And got the world to watch? Bravo 🎉🎉🎉

    swimrn62PasqualeLynneEyalSchkejoyceCopelj26slknightJustSwimIronMikeflystormsand 8 others.
  • @Ranie said:
    I think we should wait for the swim report. Bravo 🎉🎉🎉

    Yes! We don't know if he used a stinger suit, do we? A really impressive swim all around.

    thelittlemerwookieJaimieBridget
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    Finis made a custom suit for the swim. I’m sure they expect it to be worn..... wouldn’t you?

    @slknight said:

    @Ranie said:
    I think we should wait for the swim report. Bravo 🎉🎉🎉

    Yes! We don't know if he used a stinger suit, do we? A really impressive swim all around.

    IronMike

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 22

    Indeed, we look forward to seeing the documentation.

    What I'll add is this: On independent marathon swims (outside the purview of a local sanction association) it is incumbent on the swimmer to be transparent and forthright about the rules they are following and the equipment they are using. Especially on high-profile swims with media attention and distance records at stake -- transparency is key, not just in the documentation itself, but before the swim, during the swim, and after the swim, in press releases and social media activity.

    If nonstandard equipment was used -- here we are a week later, and that is still not clear from Cameron's press releases, media coverage, or lengthy FB swim recap.

    In 2014, Chloe McCardel set the MSF-recognized Longest Ocean Swim record (unassisted, current neutral) of 77.3 miles in a swim from South Eleuthera to Nassau, Bahamas. She swam with standard swimwear.

    In a Facebook post, Chloe congratulated Cameron "who broke my World Record for the longest non-stop unassisted ocean swim." If Chloe wrote that with incomplete information and incorrect assumptions, then hopefully @Ranie and everyone who liked her comment can see how that would be rather unfortunate for the sport.

    david_barraSwimmersuzIronMike
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited September 22

    @evmo said: ...transparency is key, not just in the documentation itself, but before the swim, during the swim, and after the swim, in press releases and social media activity.

    If nonstandard equipment was used, this has not been clear in Cameron's press releases, media coverage, or lengthy FB swim recap.

    I think if this swim was completed sans stinger suit it would have been declared in flashing neon lights upon touching St Lucia.

    The omission of attire details from his recap and press releases is calculated and deliberately misleading.

    emkhowleyIronMike

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • MvGMvG Islamabad, PakistanCharter Member

    A painful discussion to have after such an awe-inspiring swim. But the stinger suit question will not go away and needs to be answered.

    slknightKatieBunIronMikeLakeBagger
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    @MvG said:
    A painful discussion to have.....

    Why?

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • MvGMvG Islamabad, PakistanCharter Member

    @david_barra said:

    @MvG said:
    A painful discussion to have.....

    Why?

    Call me sentimental.

    Copelj26IronMike
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    Interesting

    As we have learned, the world cares little about the distinctions that govern our sport.

    Are “we” (it’s noble practitioners) also unable to be objective?

    Not going to sugarcoat this....
    I find this distressing.

    evmorlmKatieBunflystormsIronMike

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 24

    It's painful because when anyone pulls off a 150-f*king-kilometer ocean swim I want to celebrate it without reservation and help etch the swimmer's feat in the history of the sport.

    It's painful because I personally like and respect Cameron. Yet his team's press outreach and social media activity have been unacceptably misleading.

    It's painful because I really dislike being put in the position of parsing details that nobody outside this community cares about (but nonetheless do matter to us) - "Well, a stinger suit isn't a wetsuit or fins or a shark cage.... but neither is it equivalent to a standard bathing suit."

    It's painful because (to my knowledge) the last swimmer to wear a stinger suit on a major marathon swim was Diana Nyad 6 years ago, and it brings all of that nastiness back to the forefront. It's just not a good look.

    It's painful because this was supposed to be a MSF-Rules and MSF-ratified swim... and then I read about the stinger suit in a blog post by Steve Munatones after the swim started.

    And I have a sneaking suspicion (actually more than a suspicion) that Munatones was lobbying behind the scenes for the stinger suit, as a strategy to retroactively validate Nyad's fast-and-loose approach to rules and sow some chaos among the purists.

    Sorry to express these depressing thoughts, but this is how it is.

    david_barraKatieBunangel55StLucia_ChannelslknightIronMikeAnthonyMcCarleythelittlemerwookieSwimmersuzsmithand 8 others.
  • brunobruno Barcelona (Spain)Member

    @evmo said:

    It's painful because I really dislike being put in the position of parsing details that nobody outside this community cares about (but nonetheless do matter to us)

    I think that's a key point. Only a few care about EC rules, MSF rules, or to separate assisted from unassisted swims. Even among our fellow swimmers, let alone among journalists. For most of them, an epic (or not so epic) swim would be as epic if the swimmer wore a wetsuit or would sat for 10 minutes on the stern platform. I've always had a hard time every time I have to explain, to the guys swimming next to me, how different is to swim even 2 hours without a wetsuit... But I keep doing so (explaining, I mean), because education is key.

    This made me review 2 old threads pointing this out: https://forum.marathonswimmers.org/discussion/616/ and https://forum.marathonswimmers.org/discussion/214/

    It would be wonderful if @ssthomas ' 4-way EC (and other swims which may get media attention) could be used as a base for this education. Though how, this I don't know...

    MvG
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @evmo said:
    And I have a sneaking suspicion (actually more than a suspicion) that Munatones was lobbying behind the scenes for the stinger suit, as a strategy to retroactively validate Nyad's fast-and-loose approach to rules and sow some chaos among the purists.

    ^this...

    rosemarymint

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • MvGMvG Islamabad, PakistanCharter Member

    @evmo said:
    It's painful because when anyone pulls off a 150-f*king-kilometer ocean swim I want to celebrate it without reservation and help etch the swimmer's feat in the history of the sport.

    It's painful because I personally like and respect Cameron. Yet his team's press outreach and social media activity have been unacceptably misleading.

    It's painful because I really dislike being put in the position of parsing details that nobody outside this community cares about (but nonetheless do matter to us) - "Well, a stinger suit isn't a wetsuit or fins or a shark cage.... but neither is it equivalent to a standard bathing suit."

    It's painful because (to my knowledge) the last swimmer to wear a stinger suit on a major marathon swim was Diana Nyad 6 years ago, and it brings all of that nastiness back to the forefront. It's just not a good look.

    It's painful because this was supposed to be a MSF-Rules and MSF-ratified swim... and then I read about the stinger suit in a blog post by Steve Munatones after the swim started.

    And I have a sneaking suspicion (actually more than a suspicion) that Munatones was lobbying behind the scenes for the stinger suit, as a strategy to retroactively validate Nyad's fast-and-loose approach to rules and sow some chaos among the purists.

    Sorry to express these depressing thoughts, but this is how it is.

    I couldn't have said it better.

  • AnthonyMcCarleyAnthonyMcCarley Berwyn, PACharter Member
    edited September 24

    @evmo said:
    It's painful because when anyone pulls off a 150-f*king-kilometer ocean swim I want to celebrate it without reservation and help etch the swimmer's feat in the history of the sport.

    Just being a fan, for me it is more sad than painful. I was so excited for the swim. When I read about the stinger suit, the shock drained my energy and sucked away my enthusiasm.

    It was still damn impressive. And it is sad that it isn't unassisted. It is sad that he did all that work for an assisted swim.

    And the most sad part is: I bet he could have done it unassisted.

    MvGevmoKatieBunIronMikerlmrosemarymint
  • danslosdanslos Los Angeles, CAMember

    Anyone know who observed?

  • Copelj26Copelj26 ChicagoMember

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swimming-bellamy/battered-bellamy-soon-back-to-the-water-but-in-a-boat-idUSKBN1WA23X

    Confirms in interview the stinger suit and can’t claim the record held by Chloe

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 25

    And yet we're still parsing details:

    At 151.7 km (94 miles) it was the longest distance for an open ocean swim.

    The longest ocean swim (allowing for current assist) is Veljko Rogosic - 194 km in the Adriatic Sea in 2006:

    https://db.marathonswimmers.org/longest-swims/#ocean-open

    Is "open ocean swim" a new category, invented for this swim? Veljko's swim isn't "open ocean" because it's a sea? Or something like that?

    Copelj26IronMikerlm
  • BogdanZBogdanZ Bucharest, RomaniaMember

    @Copelj26 said:
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swimming-bellamy/battered-bellamy-soon-back-to-the-water-but-in-a-boat-idUSKBN1WA23X

    Confirms in interview the stinger suit and can’t claim the record held by Chloe

    Yet confirms he will apply for MSF ratification.
    Bellamy will submit his achievement to the Barbados Amateur Swimming Association and Marathon Swimmers’ Federation for ratification

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    I can confirm that he has decided not to submit documentation for MSF recognition.

    MvGKatieBunIronMike
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    @evmo said:
    I can confirm that he has decided not to submit documentation for MSF recognition.

    Perhaps it might be worthy of, "Selected Assisted Swims"?

    MvG
This discussion has been closed.