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

Oak Bay’s Food Forum closes after 37 years

Open on Christmas Day, the Estevan Village grocery had lovable quirks

UPDATED: Oak Bay father takes stand, denies killing young daughters

Andrew Berry has plead not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Relative of man found dead in Saanich says he was missing for years

RCMP and a private detective had been searching for him since 2012

Saanich Police warn of counterfeit money being used

Several fake $100 bills have been reported in Greater Victoria

Victoria police seek help finding ‘high risk’ missing woman

Brown, 30, is described as an Indigenous woman standing five feet, six inches tall, weighing 170 pounds

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

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

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

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

Most Read