Why was Norman Marion Joffle stopped 50 meters away from an unprecedented feat in icy Arctic waters?

Diving into a -1 degree sea in northern Norway to complete the Ice Mile was an insane challenge for Marion Joffle, without a wetsuit, in only a swimsuit. Little Lixovian ran 1,550 meters before exiting the water, just 59 meters from the finish line. An adventurous story that won’t leave you cold.

His reddish eyes reflect all his emotions and fatigue as he goes live on Facebook with his loyal subscribers. Within a few minutes, the “smiling penguin” as it calls itself releases a mixture of pride and frustration at emerging from this extreme challenge: the Arctic Ice Mile, 1,609 meters into icy waters.

Just seeing this place makes you shiver. Welcome to Northern Norway, on the island of Spitsbergen. Longyearbyen is simply the northernmost village in the world! Here, 2,000 residents coexist with wild reindeer, people travel there on ice or pulled by dogs. A little paradise of nature for its inhabitants. As far as the eye could see, arctic winds swept through the frozen mountains. Winter temperatures drop to minus 30 degrees.. At the moment, it is “soft” with a temperature of -11 (-17 degrees is felt by the wind …).

This is where Norman swimmer Marion Joffle wanted to jump into the water. She, accustomed to cold water, was even a multi-medal specialist last February for Icy World Swimming Championships. In Poland, the water was 3 degrees. In Norway, the thermometer drops a little more: 0 or even -1 degrees in the water. A small difference has big consequences, because the body gets tired faster.

Ice water is like a vampire that absorbs heat very quickly.

Alexandre Fozio, GP and ice water swimming champion

To fight hypothermia, you need a lot of training but also you need innate skills. Marion is a little piece of a woman, “Not big enough, but very brave” She said of Alexandre Fouzou, another Normandy champion in the discipline, a general practitioner in Eure. “Fighting the cold requires fat. Ice water is a type of vampire that absorbs heat very quickly.”

Fat, Norman really had nothing to spare after succumbing to a bacterial stomach infection a few weeks ago, as she testified before leaving for Norway. “It caused me kidney failure so I didn’t eat anything. The recovery was difficult because I lost a lot of weight. First of all the fat mass I need to swim in cold water and above all muscle.”

She gradually returned to her ideal weight, while providing longer and longer passes in the cold water.

“The hardest challenge of my life is coming and I’m ready to give my all”Announced three hours before the big dive: 8 laps of 200 meters in port. “The mind will be the most important and I am ready to give my all.” It was snowing heavily and then…

Swimming in such a perfect setting is amazing

Marion Joffle

extreme swimmer

The first kilometer is going fine. “I was happy to be in the water, on top of that I was smiling all the time. It proves that I love ice swimming.” Little by little, however, the cold penetrated her more and more. “Failures are common at this temperature”his counterpart at Eure testifies. “For me, 40 minutes is the most I can do. From 20 to 25 minutes, everything speeds up… As the body temperature drops, it becomes obsessedWe no longer think well. The limbs run in slow motion, and there is a risk of drowning. The glacial tendency is mentally and physically extreme, reaching the limits of human physiology. ”

With hypothermia, we become obsessed, no longer thinking well. The limbs run in slow motion, and there is a risk of drowning.

Alexandre Fuzio

Finally, Marion Jovley stopped after 1,550 meters … “only” 59 ​​meters from her goal. “The last 600m is harder than the first 1000m, so the cooling is intense and fast. What she did is really an achievement. If her team stopped her so close to the goal, it was because she was already very hypothermic, at 30-33 degrees (heat). body) and must at least who are they Hours later to find a lower temperature.”

Annabelle Medard remains at the moment the only French woman to complete the Ice Mile Zero, she was in the Netherlands, on February 13, 2021 in a lake at 0.76 degrees.

Time to warm up, then Marion reconnected with the world by showing all her feelings on social networks in a touching video. “I didn’t succeed, but I’m so close. It really is a victory over myself, it’s unbelievable, I didn’t expect to do so much in such harsh conditions.”

Contrition? A little sure, but the sighs are already giving way to the desire to come back. “There will be other events and I will succeed! The magic of the event, to be able to swim in such a perfect setting, it is incredible. I will try to experience again with great joy. Now it is time to rest.”

Somewhat relative relief because the next day it enormous Challenging, the young woman from Lisieux offered herself a snowboarding outing … “Live your dreams, live your adventures, because what I went through when I was only 23 years old is incredible. There is still so much to live for, Now I will focus on crossing the English Channel. ” Then it will be a different kind of challenge, in less icy waters, but for a much longer effort!

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