St. Lucian hotelier Sanovnik Destang applauded South African endurance athlete Cameron Bellamy for his record-setting swim from Barbados to St. Lucia over the weekend.
Destang, executive director of St. Lucia’s Bay Gardens Resorts, described Bellamy’s completion of the longest channel swim in history, of more than 150km (93 miles) of open ocean, as “nothing short of heroic.”
“This is an inspiration to athletes worldwide, but especially to our local St. Lucian swimmers, who can see what’s possible with disciplined training and a tough mental set,” commented Destang, whose Bay Gardens Resorts are hosting Bellamy, his mother and the support team, for their visit.
Bellamy, who had previously swum the English Channel, started his 57-hour continuous swim from St. Peter’s Bay, Barbados on Friday morning to make landfall in St. Lucia at five in the afternoon this past Sunday, a day earlier than expected.
After maintaining a strict drinking and feeding regimen during the swim, Bellamy was monitored at Tapion Hospital as he recuperated.
Destang, whose son is a national youth swimmer, said the historic swim was a special moment in Caribbean sports. “Giving your all and pushing yourself to the limit are lessons from which many of us in St. Lucia, Barbados and the Caribbean can learn,” he said.
The South African athlete raises funds through the Ubunye Challenge, a charity he founded in 2011. Ubunye means “Unity” in Xhosa, the language in the Eastern Cape where Ubunye does most of its work.
Ubunye supports and enables some of the poorest and most underdeveloped rural areas of South Africa and Zimbabwe, and is now extending its work to the Caribbean.
Growing up relatively privileged in Cape Town, South Africa, Bellamy was moved by the fact that all over South Africa many children his age could not attend school. His memory led him to found Ubunye in 2011 and to use his athletic feats to raise funds for the charity.
In the Caribbean, his swim will benefit United Through Sport in St. Lucia, which educates children through sports, and AC Graham Development Centre in Barbados, which teaches skills to differently-abled children.