Saint Lucia Channel Swim Set for Eventful Fall Calendar

Katie Blair
Katie Blair; Photo Courtesy: Saint Lucia Channel Swim

The Saint Lucia Channel Swim Event in 2020 will include three open-water attempts next month in a scaled back event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three crossings are scheduled for the Saint Lucia Channel, which separates the island from Martinique 21 miles (33 kilometers) to the north. The announcement comes on the one-year anniversary of Cameron Bellamy’s 94-mile swim from Barbados to Saint Lucia.

Since 2018, five attempts and three successful swims across the Saint Lucia Channel have been registered, with 2020 the third year in which the Saint Lucia Channel Swim Event has been organized.

The scheduled swims are:

  • Katie Blair, attempting the first two-way crossing of the Saint Lucia Channel. Blair, a native of Germany, has a Ph.D. in performance psychology and has competed for over 20 years, including swims of the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Molokai Channel and circumnavigations of Manhattan Island and Key West. She lives and trains in Indiana.
  • Edward Lomicka will attempt a channel crossing. He has completed 29 Ironman triathlons, including the world championships, and finished the Ultraman World Championship in 2019. He’s also circumnavigated Key West.
  • Chris Allshouse will embark on a separate channel crossing. The Ohio native grew up on a lake, where his open-water passions began.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced changes in the schedule for the annual event, the solo swims are cleared to go on. With large gatherings not allowed, other programming, like shorter open-water races and clinics, had to be cut from this year’s event. The spirit of the event, promoting water safety and keeping seas and beaches clean, remains, and the organizers hope that the 2021 event can return to its full slate.

“These have been trying times for everyone,” said Sue Dyson, Saint Lucia Channel Swim’s main organizer. “We are glad to have an opportunity for those endurance swimmers to continue with their dreams of channel and long distance swims. With travel restrictions around the world, it has been difficult for many swimmers to continue with their dreams during 2020. …

“We are thankful to have the support from local authorities as well as the officials in Martinique to make these swims happen. We look forward to successful attempts for all swimmers. I must note, despite the swimmer doing the hard work, it is a team effort for the success of any swim. Without our local captains and support crew, we could not attempt these swims.”