July 26th, 2015

ROBERVAL, Que. – Canada’s Xavier Desharnais overcame difficult conditions to win the 32-kilometre Traversée du Lac-St-Jean open water swimming race on Saturday for a second straight year.  His compatriot Philippe Guertin took the silver medal.

This time, Desharnais was the sole winner after sharing the title with Macedonia’s Tomi Stefanovsk when the two swimmers cross the finish at the same time in 2014.  The Sherbrooke, Que., resident  took seven hours and 20 minutes and 40 seconds to complete the course in what is regarded as one of the toughest sporting events in the world.  He kept pace with Guertin the entire race then passed him in the last 15 metres.

‘’I feel like I’m on top of the world,’’ said Desharnais. ‘’Philippe and I gave everything we got. I wasn’t sure at the finish if I was first or second.’’

Stefanovsk was one of 10 swimmers not to complete the race hit by high winds and a bone-chilling water temperature of 18 Celsius.

‘’The water temperature was the toughest part,’’ said Guertin.  ‘’I thought the first couple of hours would be the hardest but then the wind picked up and that was a disadvantage for me because I had nothing left at the end.’’

The silver medal was a nice comeback for Guertin, from St-Hubert, Que., who fractured his wrist this past spring at the 10-kilometre open water Olympic qualifier in Mexico.

It is the first 1-2 finish for Canada since 1962.

Pilar Geijo of Argentina won the women’s  32-kilometre race.


Source : Swimming Canada