• At 29 and 30, Quentin Merat and Ghislain Vachette are not at their first major challenge.

    But the one for which they set off this evening at 8 p.m. is still immense: swimming 42.195 kilometers each in the basins of the Molitor hotel in Paris.

  • Accomplished athletes, the two longtime friends swim for the benefit of the Telethon and hope to complete their aquatic marathon in less than 16 hours.

  • “We mainly prepared our bodies to spend time in the water, we are not in the intensity.

    It's more of a hike than a race,” explains Quentin Merat, before the big dive.

42,195 kilometers swimming in the pools of the Hôtel Molitor in Paris.

A water marathon each.

The challenge is capital for Quentin Merat, 29, and Ghislain Vachette, 30.

"We are here to have fun, to slide in the water and to highlight the Telethon", lists the latter.

The two friends take advantage of the grandiose setting of this emblematic Parisian institution to embark at 8 p.m. on about 16 hours of swimming for the benefit of research and to finance treatments against neuromuscular diseases.

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met them two hours before the launch of this night session which should end tomorrow morning, "perhaps around 10:30 a.m., we planned wide by saying 11 a.m. to noon", specifies the duo.

Friends since high school, Quentin and Ghislain are not on their first slightly crazy adventure, but this aquatic marathon is something new for them.

"The project was born in Ghislain's head," smiles Quentin, textile engineer at Decathlon in Haute-Savoie.

This summer, we were cycling around Mont-Blanc and he ended up sharing his idea with me.

By their side, they embarked Mathilde, logistics and communication manager, and Antoine, the lifeguard.

"He has absolutely no right to close his eyes", hammer the two swimmers, hilarious.

A beautiful project in a beautiful place

A marathon in the water, why not, but these two (very) experienced swimmers need more.

After a 30 km challenge in the swimming pool in March in Dijon, for the benefit of the Lames de joie association, an association which lends amputee children carbon blades - very expensive equipment, which allows them to do sports like the others –, the ambition rises: “The Telethon was approaching, so the idea of ​​​​the sporting challenge associated with a good cause thrilled us, explains Quentin.

And Ghislain knew the pools of the Molitor hotel through the film

The Odyssey of Pi.

 ” The Marathon of Pi was thus born in barely three months.

Entirely for the benefit of the Telethon, it allows donors who connect to the page dedicated to this challenge to participate in a solidarity raffle: "With our two partners, the Molitor hotel and Nabaiji, we collected prizes, which will allow us to reward those who give.

It's like calling 3637 but there, you have a chance to win two entries to swim in this magical place, or a brunch at the Molitor hotel, ”explains Ghislain.

“I certainly spent more time obtaining the authorizations than training, jokes Ghislain, PE teacher.

Which could be a problem.

But we've never gone around in circles in such a beautiful jar, it's an exceptional setting”.

Can they really benefit from it?

For Quentin, who planned to swim about half backstroke, yes.

For Ghislain, in 100% crawl, it will be during the breaks.

Because the two friends have strictly prepared the program: four blocks, interspersed with 30-minute


where they will have to dry off, eat solids and take a micro-nap, to reach 42.195 kilometers.

"In a pool of 33 meters, that's 1,279 lengths", calculates Quentin.

"And even 1280," adds Ghislain.

We're going to do 42.240 kilometers so as not to end up at the other end of the basin.


"It's more of a hike than a run"

For the conditions, the interior pool of the Molitor hotel, where they will do most of their challenge, is heated to 28 degrees: “We will do the first block of 15 km there, the second of 12 and part of the third block of 9, explains Quentin.

According to our calculations, the 3rd break will take place around 8 a.m., but we have planned to switch to the outdoor pool at 7 a.m., which is heated to 27 degrees”.

Their only objective: to complete this aquatic marathon in less than 16 hours.

“We mainly prepared our bodies to spend time in the water, we are not in the intensity.

It's more of a hike than a run.


And did the two friends consider any failure?

"We are starting on an average of 1'40-1'45 per 100 meters", a cruising speed for these two accomplished athletes, who began their challenges together during confinement: "We did a triathlon in an apartment during twelve o'clock,” they recall.

Various experiments followed, including the crossing of Lake Annecy for which they took it twice to beat the current and manage the temperature.

“It's the only little hiccup, yes.

We had not sufficiently anticipated all the parameters.


For the two friends from Auxerre, this aquatic marathon should not be the last shared challenge.

“We have things in mind for sure, but already there, 16 hours of swimming ahead of us, that's not bad.

We will then advise, ”slips Ghislain.

We came close to the "we take the matches one after the other" so dear to footballers!

“And then, we're not going to lie, two or three days ago, one of us was still not at all sure to start,” he adds, enigmatic.

“We are going to make sure that it ends at two”, smiles in turn Quentin.

But we will not know which pulled the other into the waters of the Molitor.


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