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Marathon 151km Caribbean swim leaves SA endurance athlete in hospital

by ZwemZa on September 19th, 2019

Cameron Bellamy touches St Lucia after his epic swim from Barbados.
Image: Ubunye Foundation

A South African endurance swimmer had to be hospitalised with severe muscle breakdown after a 151km, 56-hour swim in the Caribbean.

Cape Town-educated Cameron Bellamy, an entrepreneur in San Francisco who swims to raise money for African charities, barely survived his latest adventure, which involved swimming from Barbados to St Lucia.

He claims it is the longest channel swim ever recorded.

During the crossing, Bellamy did not once touch a boat or person and suffered several physical setbacks including sleep deprivation, acute overheating and severe swelling of the tongue and lips.

He also had to battle strong currents for the last mile of his swim which depleted the last of his energy reserves.

When he eventually touched the St Lucia shore he was lifted on to his main support boat, at which point he was only semi-conscious and unable to walk or talk.

He was treated inside the boat’s cabin, where he also received a courtesy call from the St Lucia prime minister Allen Chastanet. He was then rushed to hospital.

In statement issued on Wednesday, his charity said: “Cameron was eventually taken by speedboat to the northern capital town of Castries where he was admitted to the Tapion Hospital.

“He was treated for severe muscle breakdown and toxicity of his blood, swelling of the mouth and sunburn. He has since been discharged to the care of his mother and support crew.”

Commenting on the swim Bellamy, 37, said: “The toughest part was the second day leading up to the middle part of the swim. There was absolutely no wind, the air temperature must have been in the mid-30s and water temp around 30°C.

“I was feeling dizzy and weak and, if it wasn’t for the encouragement of my amazing support crew, I think I might not have made it further.

“Once I had St Lucia in my sights, after swimming through the second night, I knew I could make it and pushed myself further than I could ever have imagined.”

Bellamy has completed several previous endurance swims, including the longest circumnavigation swim in history, around Barbados, in November last year. He has also rowed across the Indian Ocean.

Bobby Jordan | Times Live

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