Seine Swim: Arthur Germain Makes it to Paris

Rivers Swimming
Photo: @arthur.germain

On June 7, Arthur Germain began a 784km swim down the Seine River. The 20-year-old son of the mayor of Paris is trying to become the first person to swim the entire length of the river. He hopes to complete the swim in 52 days and he is currently on target. After 30 days of swimming, he has covered 455km.

Germain has tried to swim for six hours a day, covering 15-20km. While swimming, he also pulls a kayak that weighed 100kg when he first left Burgundy. It carries gear and supplies that have allowed him to camp whenever necessary. Other days, he spends his non-swimming hours “finding food, water, and showers”.

The swim did not start well. In the first few days, the wheels of the little cart that he uses to portage the kayak broke. By day 5, he had new wheels, but the Seine was “strewn with trees”. He had to detour several kilometres on foot. He said that it had “a rating worthy of a Tour de France pass!”

Photo: @arthur.germain

For the first two weeks, Germain was swimming in the comparatively wild part of the Seine. This bought its own challenges. He camped frequently and he swam past many obstacles including, dams, sweepers, and rapids. In moving water, Germain found it “very complicated to control my kayak”.

Further down the Seine, he has had to contend with a number of locks. They slow his pace significantly and force him to play catch-up to keep on schedule.

Photo: @arthur.germain

Germain has gained 3kg

Often during long-distance challenges, athletes lose weight. Bucking the trend, Germain has gained three kilos, perhaps from adding muscle. Throughout the swim, a doctor has regularly checked him out, because of the poor water quality of the river. Throughout the swim, he has rated the water quality of each section on his blog.

On July 2, he arrived in Paris. “I had tears in my eyes…a mixture of excitement, joy, and pride…It was an unforgettable moment!”

He is now making his way out of Paris in the hardest conditions he has faced so far: heavy rain and wind gusts of 70kph. The wind caused his tent to fly open in the middle of the night and now all of his belongings are soaked. Still, “Morale remains good,” he says.

You can track his swim here.

Photo: @arthur.germain

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About the Author

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca is a freelance writer and science teacher based in the UK.

She is a keen traveler and has been lucky enough to backpack her way around Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans and aims to dive and open-water swim in as many seas as possible.

Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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