Edward "Ted" Lomicka - St. Lucia East Coast
Fond Bay to Smuggler's Cove
36.2 km (22.5 miles)
12 hours, 14 minutes on 28 July 2021
Observed and documented by Sue Dyson
- Support Personnel
- Swim Parameters
- Swim Data & GPS
- Observer Log
- Swimmer Statement
- Name: Edward “Ted” Lomicka
- Gender: male
- Age on swim date: 52
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: Franklin, Tennessee
- Hubert Son Son - pilot
- Danly Augustin - 2nd pilot
- Vance Poss - feeder
- Nayshad Khan - medic / 2nd observer
- John McLennon - photographer
- Will Wilson - rescue diver / first mate
|Island Girl||Rodney Bay, St. Lucia|
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (TYR jammers), goggles (TYR Velocity), regular wristwatch, Vaseline, Desitin, SolRX sunscreen.
- Body of Water: Caribbean Sea
- Route Type: one-way coastal swim
- Start Location: Fond Bay, Micoud (13.833296, -60.893184)
- Finish Location: Smuggler’s Cove (14.103593, -60.947436)
- Minimum Route Distance: 36.2 km (22.5 miles) (map)
Map of Start Location
One previous swim of this route, by Chris Allshouse in November 2020.
- Start: 28 July 2021, 05:05 (, UTC-4).
- Finish: 28 July 2021, 17:20
- Elapsed: 12 hours, 14 minutes, 45 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||82||83|
|Air Temp (F)||77||85|
Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
NOTE: Main tracker failed during first four hours of swim. Image of data from backup tracking device shown below.
Nutrition: Every 30 min: Carbo Pro drink + energy gel.
by Sue Dyson
This swim report is broken down into “The Planning” and “The Swim”. This is to help others understand the changes and updates made to the swim over a period of time since the initial contact between Ted Lomicka and Event Organizer, Sue Dyson.
Edward “Ted” Lomicka contacted me in July 2019 as we were starting our annual Channel Swim Event. He was very eager to learn more and discuss the swim as well as his chance at swimming in Saint Lucia.
Over the next several months, we planned a swim originally intended for July 2020. It would have fallen in sync with our then “normal” annual event. Little did we know the challenges that lay ahead. As March 2020 reached, the pandemic worldwide proved that planning would be more difficult. We knew the actual event with clinics and short distances races would be cancelled. We continued to adjust swim dates for Ted’s swim attempt. Finally, with the start of 2021, we knew he’d be able to arrive in Saint Lucia and have a marathon swim!
The original plan was an attempt across the St Lucia Channel; a 21 mile/33 kilometer spanse from Saint Lucia to neighboring island Martinique. Planning this attempt was very slow in early 2021 as both islands went through waves of Covid-19. With the swim planned for the last week of July, we requested the authorizations in May 2021. Authorizations and changing travel protocols/restrictions created even more of a challenge.
Receiving authorization from Saint Lucian Authorities, we were eager to receive an update from Martinique Authorities. As July started, we still had no updates. Our Martinique contacts requested we wait just a little longer. Since Saint Lucia is surrounded by crystal blue, warm seas, we were able to come up with several back up plans.
Finally, within a few days of the intended swim date, we formally adjusted plans. We went with the “East Coast Challenge” as Ted Lomicka and Chris Allshouse have dubbed it. This course is 23 miles/37 kilometers from Fond Bay, Micoud to Smuggler’s Cove, Cap Estate. On the Atlantic side of the island, the waves, swells, and winds are similar to that in the channel.
SideNote: Martinique finally sent approval for the swim in less than 20 hours before our intended swim date. We would not have been able to get the swim attempt to Martinique together and notify the Saint Lucian Authorities in time.
The crew met at Rodney Bay Marina on Island Girl around 8:30 PM on July 27, 2021. We reviewed the route and the responsibilities of each individual. Ted and his support feeder Vance Poss arrived shortly after 9 PM.
We went through introductions and everyone got settled onto the 48 ft catamaran. At this point, it was imperative to read the MSF rules for Marathon swims. We have found it is easier to do this at the start of the swim in this case as everyone is gathered together. As questions were asked and responses given, Captain Hebert pushed us off from the dock. Captain Herbert was accompanied by Captain Danly and Captain Will (first mate); all captains were advised to take turns sleeping as we traveled down the West Coast of Saint Lucia to get to our starting point. Ted, Vance, and the rest of the crew went to the 4 cabins below deck to sleep as well. The trip to our starting point is always smooth until we reach the southern end of the island. That’s when the waves “kick in”.
As we rounded the southern point of Vieux Fort and Moule a Chique, we received our first phone call from the Marine Police Unit. They are always so attentive when we travel the southern coasts. We traveled up the East Coast until we reached the village of Micoud. Just past Micoud was our starting point of Fond Bay. In the darkness of the early morning hours (4:56 AM), we lowered the dinghy in the water. Naushad Khan - our doctor in training and back-up independent observer - offered to go with Ted and Captain Danly to the shore line for the start of the swim. After nearly 10 minutes, at 5:05 AM, the horn sounded and Ted entered the water. Naushad was filming the start on his phone in the dinghy, when a wave came and capsized the dinghy. Both Naushad and Captain Danly landed in the waves as they tumbled onto the beach. While both were ok, and so was the dinghy, the phone recording the start was permanently damaged. (There is no start footage of the swim due to this untimely event). We tried to film from the main boat, but due to the darkness it was pointless. (Lesson learned)
The Marine Police Unit approached closer, which was of great assistance as we tracked Ted but got Naushad and Danly back on board the main boat. What a start to a very exciting day!
The wind was from the due east as daylight broke and Ted rounded the corner out of the cove. As we made our way, it seemed as though the first hour passed very quickly. The sun rose quickly by 6 AM. After the first hour and a half, the Marine Police Unit indicated they were leaving us to check out further north along the coast before returning to base. It was a steady swim and by 7 AM, Ted had a school of fish following him about 20 feet away. He continued swimming at a steady pace with various sea life underneath.
Finally after 4 hours of swimming, as we reached Dennery village (one of the larger fishing villages on the East Coast), we saw two boats racing towards us. Fisherman from Dennery came to “rescue” us. They indicated it looked like we were not moving or moving very slowly so they raced out to assist in our engine or boat problem. As they approached, Captain Herbert yelled “Nage! Nage!” while the rest of us waved and yelled for them to slow down. Other boats circulating a swimmer are always a concern; but it's refreshing to know you will get help from the local fisherman if something should happen.
With the winds still from the east and waves only about 3 feet (1 meter), we had an optimal day for this attempt on the East Coast. Ted continued with his steady pace when the Brown Boobies decided to join him. They flew around checking him out and often sitting on the water near him as he pushed along. By midday, we reached the halfway point for our swim - Grand Anse Beach. Locally known as “turtle beach” because the huge Leatherbacks come there to lay their eggs from May to July, it is a long stretch of beach off the coast. On this side of the island, it is easy to spot compared to the cliffs and rocks that line most of the east coast.
This also meant the hardest part of the swim was approaching, rounding the Cap! Ted continued at a very steady pace. The turn around the northern tip of the island can be difficult depending on weather conditions and the changing currents. With a light rain starting and immediate temp drop, it didn’t affect Ted at all. As soon as we reached west of Point du Cap, the seas settled to almost flat conditions. Ted could tell he was almost at his landing spot and he pushed forward. He decided not to take his last feed and push towards home! With hotel guests, local news journalists, his wife and Vance’s wife on the beach, Ted swam into Smuggler’s Cove to the cheers of both the boat crew and beach crowd!
Exactly 8 months after his major cycling accident Edward “Ted” Lomicka showed no indications of broken ribs or a collapsed lung. What an amazing accomplishment as he walked on the beach at Smuggler’s Cove at 5:20 PM July 28th, 2021.
by Ted Lomicka
Reading stories about marathon swimmers exploring the warm waters of Saint Lucia excited my imagination. A conversation with Molly Nance, first woman to swim the Saint Lucia Channel, galvanized my conviction that this Windward Island in the Lesser Antilles would be the best location in the world for me to test my swimming endurance. My conversation with event director Sue Dyson gave me even more motivation. She told me that a substantial proportion of Saint Lucians have some apprehension about swimming in the waters surrounding their island and that my long-distance swim could help lessen such trepidation, while also promoting water safety and recreational swimming. That struck me as a clear cause worthy of my time and devotion. With that, my compass sights were set on Saint Lucia.
When my local Life Time Fitness pool closed for a few months during 2020, I found a new avenue for aquatic training: My local Percy Priest Lake became a pragmatic way for me to build aerobic swim fitness and a cathartic way for me to connect with nature. The freedom of movement in any direction along the relatively flat plane of the water’s surface seemed boundless. In fact, I could swim almost anywhere among the 14,200 acres of Percy Priest Lake, located 10 miles east of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, “Music City" USA.\
While I’m rarely content to swim in a pool for more than an hour, I found that I can spend the entire day at the lake. It actually was the long distances that my friend Marshall Albritton and I swam in the lake that did most to help prepare me for this Saint Lucia marathon swim. That effort was strongly bolstered by my eventual return to the pool, the swim coaching of Ella Dunn, and advice from many long-distance swimmers as well as support, encouragement, and inspiration from Katie Blair and Chris Allshouse (both of whom completed marathon swims in the Saint Lucian waters in calendar year 2020). On my final long-swim workout, with my kayaker Vance Poss by my side, I did swim boundlessly as we passed all our lake landmarks with a path from BMX Bay to Anderson Beach to Hobson Bridge to Hole-in-the-Wall Island to Percy Priest Dam to Luau Island, and back to BMX Bay - completing a 14 mile round-trip that I’ve dubbed, fittingly for Nashville, “The Brass Catfish.” Upon that completion, I knew I was ready for my swim challenge in Saint Lucia.
Seeing photos of this tropical paradise that is Saint Lucia had Michelle (my wife) on-board for a weeklong vacation, though we both agreed it best for her to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, far from the support activities on the boat, and away from the wind and swells of the Atlantic Ocean, during the day of the swim. At 9:00 PM on Tuesday, July 27, Vance Poss and I arrived at the north port of Rodney Bay and boarded Island Girl, a 48-foot catamaran, greeted Sue Dyson, and met the amazing crew that would escort me on this great waterborne adventure. After brief introductions and review of pertinent swim details, it was time to set sail. Rather than boat directly to the swim destination, we opted to take the long-way around the island so as to have calmer waters while we slept through the night to rest for the morning swim. I could not sleep, partly because of the anticipation of the swim and partly because of the amazing view out the window. The Pitons were spectacular at night and we passed by them on our way down the southwest coast, around the southernmost point, and then, eventually, starting up the east coast. As the time approached 5:00 AM, and after a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a layer of SolRx sunscreen and an added layer of sun-blocking Desitin, it was finally time to swim. The swim started before sunrise and in the dark at 5:08 AM on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at the uninhabited location of Fond Bay, a plush, pristine landscape adorned with palms blowing in the strong, steady breeze on the eastern side of the island.
Within the first few strokes of my departure from the shore, I realized how different this swim would be from my local lake. The waves and ocean swells were significant even though this day was milder than most. The plane of the water’s surface was clearly not flat, but dynamic, ever changing, causing me to adapt and adjust my stroke on the fly, much like a dance. As my wife will attest, I’m not a great dancer, so I let the Atlantic Ocean take the lead. I did my best to follow, somewhat clumsily at first and then gradually more skillful. Eventually, the rhythm was set as the motion transformed into a forward propelling inertia. Stay in the moment, I reminded myself. Disregard the distance already traveled and that yet to be swum. Concentrate on the stroke, the breathing, and the feeds.
The water was pleasantly warm (around 82 degrees Fahrenheit, the Atlantic Ocean swells were exciting (up to 4 feet), the depths were sufficiently deep (approximately 200 to 1,000 feet deep), and the marine life was inquisitive and friendly (lots of birds and fish, many of which joined me for a small portion of this long swim). Among the many animals I saw during my swim, most tried to join me for a small portion of the journey. Among the more noteworthy encounters, I was able to garner much attention from schools of barracuda and jacks, a spotted eagle ray, and an abundance of brown booby sea birds.
Vance Poss, as my “feeder" did an excellent job of helping me with my feeds. We kept it simple. Every 30 minutes of the swim, I drank 9 ounces of water with 1 scoop of Carbo-Pro as my source of complex carbohydrates. Every 60 minutes I added an energy gel, rotating among 150 calorie e-Gel Electrolyte Energy Gels and 80 to 120 calorie Spring Energy Gels. The hydration / nutrition plan worked flawlessly and I had sustained energy throughout the entire swim.
Breathing bilaterally, I sought to breathe every third stroke, yet opted to go for 5 strokes, on occasion, to avoid swallowing water if I could feel a wave about to hit. I kept the pace of my forward propulsion comfortable and well within an aerobic heart rate zone for the entire swim, which enabled me to preserve sufficient energy over the entire duration of the swim.
As I rounded the bend and headed to Smuggler’s Cove, I was delighted to hear cheers from the Cap Maison staff and guests, from Sanom Poss (wife of Vance), and Michelle. At 5:22 PM, I arrived at Smuggler’s Cove, to complete the Saint Lucia East Coast Marathon Swim (from Fond Bay to Smuggler’s Cove) a distance of approximately 23 miles in a time of 12 hours 14 minutes and 45 seconds (pending official ratification by the Marathon Swimmers Federation).
Thanks to my wife Michelle for allowing me to go on a marathon swim during our tropical vacation. Thanks to Vance Poss who kept the food and water plentiful and timely. That helped me nail the nutrition so that I stayed strong throughout the swim. Equally as important Vance knows how to give the right advice at the right time, which is why he has been so helpful to me on various endurance endeavors. Thanks to Sanom Poss, wife of Vance, for forming an amazing cheering section, bolstering that of Cap Maison, at Smuggler’s Cove.
Special thank to Marshall Allbritton for joining me on two seasons of fun marathon swim training in Percy Priest Lake; Coach Ella Dunn for our Life Time Masters Swim classes, which has noticeably improved my swim speed; Coach Ashley Whitney for encouraging me try marathon swimming and putting me in contact with those who have done it; and Saint Lucia marathon swimmers Chris Allshouse and Katie Blair for answering many hours of questions I asked of them in preparation for this swim and for the inspiration of their achievements.
Much thanks to the amazing crew of Island Girl. Finally, immense gratitude to Sue Dyson, who did an amazing job of planning and organizing this swim and fielding such a wonderful support crew, including Captain Will Wilson, who along with two other pilots, guided Island Girl, a 48 foot catamaran. Sue offers an array of warm-water, Marathon-distance swims (21+ miles) including the marquee Saint Lucia Channel Swim.
Click to enlarge.