A Frenchman who lost all his limbs in an electrocution accident has completed an epic swim to link five continents with the help of swim brand Aqua Sphere. Using tailor-made fins and a customised wetsuit, Philippe Croizon finished his quest by crossing between the US island of Little Diomede and Great Diomede in Russia, joining Asia and the Americas.
The 44-year-old has swum three other straits since May. Connecting five continents by swimming in four crossings, often in extremely cold and dangerous waters, reaching shore on the final swim he said the icy waters had been an enormous challenge.
“This was the hardest swim of my life, with a water temperature of four degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit) and strong currents. But we made it,” Croizon said.
He swam the 4.3K (2.7 miles) stretch in the Bering Strait in 1 hour and 20 minutes, accompanied by friend and long-distance swimmer Arnaud Chassery. Croizon said he hoped to be an encouragement to other disabled people…
“I tell them: ‘Everything is possible, everything can be done when you have the will to go beyond yourself’. We’re all equal, disabled and non-disabled people on all continents.”
A spokesperson for swim kit specialist Aqua Sphere said “After seeing many doors close on him, it was our privilege to get involved with Philippe and meet his requests to create customised technical wet suits, challenging ourselves to create suits which would not only fit him perfectly but would also offer him various thermal options to meet the punishing regime of different water temperatures.
“Our relationship has not been without emotion since Philippe first contacted us for help to enable him to swim the English Channel in 2008, and we are extremely proud to support him where other companies failed. We believe everyone has a human right to swim and endurance swimming heals the body and the mind.
“No-one symbolises the human spirit of triumph over adversity more than Philippe. His mental strength is inspiring.”
In past months Philippe has swum between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia to link Oceania with Asia, across the shark-infested Red Sea to link Africa to Asia, and across the Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa.
He had the amputations after an accident on a roof in 1994, when a high-voltage power cable discharged through a metal ladder he was standing on. During his epic challenge he wore various Aqua Sphere Phantom wetsuits that were specially customised by Aqua Sphere, as well as Aqua Sphere’s award winning goggles and snorkels.
Depending on the conditions he also used customised Aqua Skins and dry suits. He always swims with Aqua Sphere goggles which are well regarded for their panoramic field of vision and comfortable fit.