Amyot, Jaques

Jacques Amyot (13 November 1924 – 7 September 2018) was a Canadian swimmer from Quebec.

Well prepared, surrounded by a small team – his brother Philippe, Jos Lachance, Raymond Roy – Jacques Amyot on his first try, on July 17 1956, became after 13 hours 2 minutes the first Canadian man – there were two Canadian women before him – to cross the English Channel.

Born in Quebec City in 1924, Amyot was interested in a career as a cyclist, but instead turned to long distance swimming. After placing second in a two-mile race at Lake St. Joseph in 1939, he was spotted by coach Jos Lachance.

Amyot began swimming professionally in 1948, participating in the Olympic trials for the London Olympics’ 1500 metre freestyle. At the time, there was no long distance event at the Olympics.

On July 23, 1955, Amyot made the first recorded crossing of Lac Saint-Jean. In 1956, he crossed the English Channel at the Strait of Dover between France and Great Britain, completing it in just over 13 hours in strong currents and 13 °C (55 °F) water.

Amyot held about 50 records in Quebec and 15 Canadian records in open water swimming. He was elected to the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, the Quebec Swimming Hall of Fame in 1998, and made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 2001. The town of Roberval also erected a bust in his honour, and the Quebec Athlete Gala created a trophy in his name.

Swims by Amyot, Jaques

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