'I'm very proud of her': Woman with Down syndrome to swim non-stop for 4 hours
CTV News Vancouver
Published Sunday, August 4, 2019 5:42PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, August 5, 2019 8:27AM PDT
A Victoria woman is determined to accomplish an amazing feat: swim in open water for hours without stopping.
Meliah Motchman, 27, has Down syndrome and it is believed that if she completes her goal, she will be the first Canadian living with the condition to swim such a long distance.
On Monday, Motchman plans to swim five kilometres in Thetis Lake, which is about 15 minutes northwest of Victoria.
"I'm very proud of her that she's even going to attempt it. Hopefully, she succeeds, and I think she will because she's very determined," said Richard Motchman, her dad.
Motchman said she is passionate about swimming and she has been driven to swim longer and further.
"I swim to be fit and to make me healthy and to make me strong, and it makes me keep swimming non-stop," she told CTV News.
Susan Simmons, a coach for athletes with developmental disabilities, said Motchman's journey started small – typically swimming 100 to 200 metres at a time – and she would continue to make her goals bigger.
"It's pretty amazing. I've never seen anyone like Meliah do this before," Simmons said. "It's really nice to see her embrace and take on the challenge because a lot of times, people with disabilities are told, 'No, you can't.' We need to change it to, 'How can I help you?'"
The five-kilometre swim is expected to take Motchman about four hours.
She will be allowed to pause for food and water, but she must continue to tread water the entire time.
She is not allowed to leave the water or touch the bottom, Simmons explained.
The swim will start at 10 a.m. Monday.
With files from CTV Vancouver Island