Long-distance swimmer Meliah Motchman snacks on watermelon during a brief break from her five-kilometre swim around Thetis Lake on Monday. The 27-year-old may be the first Canadian with down syndrome to complete a swim of that distance. (Submitted/Susan Simmons)

Victoria swimmer with down syndrome completes 5-kilometre Thetis Lake swim

Victoria woman swims for four hours straight in cold water

Meliah Motchman is fearless.

The long distance Victoria swimmer, 27, swam for four hours straight in Thetis Lake on Monday, completing a five-kilometre goal she made last winter with coach Susan Simmons.

READ ALSO: Tackling ‘one fear after another:’ ‘Spirit Orca’ swimmers ready for next challenge

Motchman has down syndrome and might be the first Canadian living with the condition to complete an open water swim of that distance – the Special Olympics World Games open water swim is only 1.5 kilometres.

“Swimming makes me healthy and fit,” Motchman said. “I feel proud of myself, it’s amazing. Next summer I want to do the Sunshine Coast.”

Motchman has been training in the pool, lake and ocean. She says cold water – as low as 12 degrees – and waves two to three feet high don’t scare her at all.

“I’ve been swimming in lakes all my life. I have to be brave a lot, I’m no chicken,” she said.

Motchman swam three laps around Thetis Lake and an additional 500 metres, with breaks every thirty minutes for a drink and snack, all while treading water, never touching the boat or ground.

Simmons had a kickboard and paddled alongside her, encouraging her by posting updates to Facebook and reading supportive comments out loud.

READ ALSO: Victoria speakers gather for inspirational conference

Simmons, known for swimming incredible distances in B.C.’s open water while battling Multiple Sclerosis, coaches a number of swimmers with different developmental abilities. She says Motchman’s achievement on Monday is an step forward for all her swimmers.

“I think people with disabilities are often told, ‘you can’t’ so they don’t believe they can, and other people don’t believe they can,” she said. “It’s become very important to me to dispel the myth…for Meliah to choose a goal like that and achieve it and show that someone with down syndrome can do this, is amazing.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cross-examination begins for Oak Bay dad accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Arenas, fitness centre ready for action after significant flood at Saanich recreation centre

Library branch, archives remain closed after Thursday night flood

Camosun mechanical engineering project solve real-world problems

Showcase included projects that confound conventional wisdom, garner industry interest

Speculation tax forces sale of Oak Bay’s ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read