Stève Stievenart, by his nickname, Stève the Seal, is 43 years old and collects stories of exploits. Last August, he was the first Frenchman to swim a round trip from the English Channel with just one swimsuit. Steve has spent 34 straight hours in the sea between England and France. In total, he traveled nearly 70 kilometers in water that rarely exceeds 15 degrees.
To meet Stève Stievenart, you have to get up very early. The meeting is at 3 a.m., on the Wimereux dike, the outside temperature felt is 0 ° C, but nothing to discourage the athlete:
“I’m attacking my night training explains Stève. It is very important to get your body used to training at night, because the perception is different, the brain has to get used to it and it becomes an automatism. In our sport, the wetsuit is prohibited, the authorized accessories are the cap, the glasses, the swimsuit “.
A minimalist outfit
In a few minutes, without hesitation, Stève blends into the night. The objective of this night training is to swim for a quarter of an hour, with only the moonlight and a green light to stay visible.
Extreme conditions that would discourage more than one, Stève feels like a fish in water: “For me it is happiness he confides, I swim under the full moon, there are good energies. I am connected with nature so it’s a magical moment every time “.
A diet based on fatty fish
To be as comfortable in this hostile element, Stève knows exactly what his body needs. The next morning at the market, in front of his favorite stall, Stève explains that what all these fish have in common is their exceptional richness in vitamins and Omega 3, essential fatty acids for his body.
Stève consumes impressive quantities of fatty fish: 1 kilo per day, divided into 5 meals. A diet developed with the help of a nutritionist and directly inspired by that of marine animals: “It is a fuel and an insulator so I store, I store and during my long trip I draw on these reserves he comments, like a whale does when it leaves, or a bar, or a seal, it is the same process ” explains Stève.
“It’s physiological, your body is at 37 degrees and it swims in water at 15 degrees so you need calories to stay at its initial temperature, hence consuming a lot of calories. The first crossing for the little one story I had lost 7 kilos in 24 hours “.
“My body changed quite quickly, I was very dry at the base and then from weeks, from month to month I grew very slowly, to reach what I am today Steve the seal”.
Water at 7 degrees
A few years ago during a triathlon event, Stève weighed 63 kilos for 1m80. In 4 years, he gained 47 kilos. This weight gain is one of the secrets of its performance. The real key is the acclimatization of your body to cold water.
Accompanied by Frederique his companion, Stève prepares for his second training in less than 24 hours: “I feel that my body is much less sensitive to the cold now, he explains, since I come twice a day, it has become acclimated to this drop in temperature which explains the ability to resist the cold, to year after year it progresses I see the evolution “.
Next project: Lake Baikal
Stève is a relentless person, ready to do anything to push his limits. A life entirely devoted to his passion, to the rhythm of the tides: “It’s doing everything to achieve a feat, 35 hours of swimming does not happen overnight, he confides, there is a huge amount of work upstream, the body has extraordinary capacities as long as you listening and I always say listening to yourself, and from that moment you can create extraordinary things ”.
Stève does not intend to stop there, his next challenge will be to cross Lake Baikal, in Russia, next July.
Dangerous weight gain
Stève is very impressive, but to achieve these performances he has put on a lot of weight. He is closely followed by a team of specialists, everything is perfect for him, no bad cholesterol for example.
Its foundation “Stop Plastic pollution”
In addition to his sporting exploits, Stève fights against marine pollution, he collects waste. Stève created the “Stop Plastic Pollution” foundation in order to alert and educate the world about this scourge. You will find all the information on Stop-plastic-pollution.org.