Crowned at his “favorite race”

Crowned at his “favorite race”


ROBERVAL | Italian Edoardo Stochino offered an open water swimming lesson at the Traversée du lac Saint-Jean on Saturday, while tamed the cold and the waves in a race marked by a series of retirements shortly after the start. 

Ruthless for some swimmers, Lac Saint-Jean quickly showed why his reputation is second to none in the world of open water swimming. The 14 athletes who took the start from Péribonka were treated to everything the body of water has to offer, or worse.

The Italian Edoardo Stochino was the first swimmer to touch the plate in the bay of Roberval on Saturday, with a smile on his face.

Wind, waves of three or four feet at times and a little rain made life difficult for them, especially in the morning. Some had difficulty dealing with the temperature of the water. They were not entitled to the wetsuit since the water temperature was 21 °C.

William Racine, from Beauport, was among them. ” I just froze “, summed up the one who rubbed shoulders with the mythical race for the first time in his life.

” My favorite race “

But as the misfortune of some is the happiness of others, the hero of the day took advantage of these conditions to show the extent of his talent and sign a second victory at the Traversée, after his triumph of 2018.

“I like cold water. This morning, I was hoping not to have to wear a wetsuit. I like the waves. At home, I train in the sea with the waves and the cold water. And the waves are perfect for me,” said Stochino, 34, with his strong Italian accent.

William Racine hoped to enter Roberval by swimming. He instead returned by car after being forced to retire.

The one who practices the profession of policeman was quick to apply his own law from the middle of the race, where he dropped his main rival, the Argentinian Franco Ivo Cassini, unable to follow the pace dictated. Stochino touched the finish plate after an effort of 6 h 55 4 s, a faster time of 40 minutes compared to his last race here in 2019. 

“  This is my favorite race. I love this lake, said the winner, prompting cheers from the crowd. 

Macedonian Aleksandar Ilievski completed the podium.

Wave of 'dropouts

The start of the day was marked by four retirements in a short period of time. Veteran Damian Blaum (Argentina), who has seen others, was first knocked out. by the cold, which caused him an asthma attack. Frenchman Bertrand Venturi, William Racine and Egyptian Marwan Elamrawy then threw in the towel. A black series that stretched for only 75 minutes.

“All the symptoms of hypothermia appeared. It forced me out of the water,” Racine said.

“There it was starting to get critical. I had been dragging cramps for at least 30 minutes. That's fine, I'm able to “deal” with it, but when the other symptoms have arrived: confusion, dizziness, we know that it's not going well. »

Venturi, for his part, recounts having had “paralyzed” legs. “The cold may have taken us by surprise and quickly gripped us. […] The pain was so strong, I could no longer swim,” said the native of Sète, in the south-east of France.

“It moved well, even in the Péribonka River. It wasn't pretending. […] We have seen everything. No sun, still the wind, there are waves… »

Proud of him despite everything

As for William Racine, his working day did not go at all as planned. The 26-year-old athlete had the goal of completing the event and learning the trade. He will certainly have succeeded in one of them. 

“I think there I know exactly what to work on, I know who to work with. I learned a lot. I think I will be able to prepare myself well for next year if I have the opportunity to do so. » 

A pride of Université Laval triumph 

Morgane Dornic was welcomed by her fan club at Place de la Traversée. His boisterous supporters wore vests that read “Allez Momo” to cheer him on.

The French Morgane Dornic won a second consecutive victory at the Traversée and her success had a little Quebec flavor since the swimmer has been shining for several seasons with the Laval University swimming club.

The least we can say is that this second triumph was achieved with panache. The young woman from Morlaix, on the north coast of Brittany, stopped the clock after 7 h 19 min 8 s even allowing herself to warm up the Macedonian Aleksandar Ilievski at the very end of the course. She finished 4th overall.


At only 23 years old, Dornic used strategy to ensure her success. Shortly after leaving, she found herself in a small group. But the cold gradually invaded his body, forcing him to try something. 

“I thought to myself, do I stay in the group or do I go on my own? Because it is always a risk to go alone. I was a bit cold, so I thought I might as well go at my own pace and leave. I know that I'm still good at keeping a rhythm for a long time. I said to myself let's go and it still paid off,” she said, all smiles, while her fan club cheered her on.

 Go Momo! 

Several of his supporters wore white vests that read “Go Momo!”. Support that warmed his heart.

A member of the UL swim club for six years, she will be completing her course shortly. She takes pride in it, but also in learning that will have served her well during the day on Saturday.  

“ [I remember] the support I received. The group, of course, always helps. And the cold, maybe, she laughed. The five winters in Quebec help a little to prepare for the cold. 

She does not yet know if she will be back next year to defend her title of double champion since she will have finished her master's degree in international security. And we may well need her elsewhere on the planet. 

A real lesson in courage 

Exhausted, but delighted with her performance, Émilie Tremblay has realized her dream of completing the crossing of Lac Saint-Jean. She proudly holds the trophy given to the best swimmer in the province.

The Saguenéenne Émilie Tremblay had promised to do everything in her power to complete her first crossing of Lac Saint-Jean. With a good dose of courage and character, she kept her word.

The stands at Place de la Traversée had been emptied of their spectators for quite a while when the 20-year-old swimmer finally reached the finish.

Families, relatives and friends vigorously encouraged their Emilie. Even the organization of the Crossing made sure not to miss the moment and came forward on the rotunda to applaud the heroine of the day. A triumphant finish, worthy of a winner.

A dream come true

Émilie finally hit the plate after about 10  'effort. Her final time won't show up on the official score sheet because she finished after regular time.

Except time doesn't matter when you've just achieved your dream. A dream born here almost ten years ago.

“Sold Out!” she spontaneously replied after being asked how she was doing. “I'm tired. But I'm really proud of myself. I think that's what stands out the most. » 


If she doubted? Yes, she humbly admits. But she pushed back to the bottom of herself this desire to return to Roberval aboard a boat. “When I had six kilometers left, I felt like I had a boost of energy. I don't know if it was because I knew the end was near […] But I had a boost of hope. ”

Solo >

Her feat, she had to achieve it solo. Or almost, she makes sure to specify.

“I had my coach, my guide who encouraged me. In the other boat, there was my father, my brother and my boyfriend who encouraged me. It was solo, but I wasn't really alone. 

A reassuring presence that certainly allowed her to continue on her way. The difficult times seemed less harsh with her precious allies at her side.

She does not dare to comment on her possible participation in the 69th edition of the Traversée internationale du lac Saint-Jean next year.

“It's not in my plans. My goal was to do it once and I did. […] It’s more no than yes, “she said before going to take a rest. No one will dare to say that it is not deserved in his case.