“I, in life, want to do something that no one else has ever done. »

Heidi Levasseur expressed this wish when she was 5 or 6 years old. That’s what his mother told him. At the time, she had just started swimming. She developed a passion for water. Passion which quickly became vital.

She is now 42 years old. And in less than 365 days, she will attempt to become the first in the world to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. A pretty, but above all long, route of 3000 km which will take it from the coasts of Senegal to those of Brazil.

Heidi Levasseur will grant her distant childhood wish.

You see, Levasseur likes to transform the impossible into possible. At age 15, she became the youngest swimmer to cross Lake Memphremagog. At 16, she achieved the same feat at the International Crossing of Lake Saint-Jean.

Over the years, she has multiplied her feats in the water, notably swimming from Montreal to Quebec three times, or even from Quebec to Matane. Do you want some, long distances? Just look at the CV of the mermaid from Quebec.

Levasseur doesn’t know exactly where this desire to be a pioneer comes from. “It’s like asking me why I’m a woman. I was born like that,” she illustrates.

Levasseur has had this great dream of swimming across the Atlantic Ocean for a long time. Almost 10 years, to be exact. It was a massage therapist, during an evening while crossing between Montreal and Quebec in 2014, who planted the first seed of such a project in his mind.

“He said, ‘I think if there’s anyone who can do that, it’s you.’ It seems like a light has come on inside me. I smiled and said, “OK, I’ll give it a go.” It was like instantaneous. I said, “Yeah, I can do that.” »

Because…why not?

With this project, Heidi is launching a cry from the heart to save the oceans. And she demonstrates the strength of women. These are the messages she wants to send.

“I swim not only for the strength and resilience of every woman, but also to celebrate the indomitable power of nature reflected in us,” she says in the description of her Go Fund Me campaign, which aims to raising more than $1 million. “Like the oceans that cover our planet, women are essential pillars of life, powerful and nurturing. But just like our oceans, the purity and quality of our essence are threatened. »

If the story of Heidi Levasseur tells you anything, it’s because we’ve already told it in our pages. The Quebecer was supposed to begin her journey in 2020, but a global pandemic disrupted her plans. “It might not be [everything] from A to Z that was in place, but I would say maybe A to V.”

Faced with the confusion and vagueness surrounding the possible return to normality, she had to put her project on hold. Rather than languishing, she decided to take care of herself and work on areas she considered “softer.”

She read a lot. Learned meditation practices. Did exercises that restored his vitality, flexibility and “extra” physical shape. Today, Levasseur feels fully ready for the challenge she will begin in December 2024, a favorable time of year due to weather conditions.

The swimmer has surrounded herself with a whole multidisciplinary and professional team who will accompany her on a catamaran. The list is long: a project manager, a psychological support manager and personal coach, a massage therapist, a public image manager, an experienced kayaker and crossing companion, a director and documentarian, a cook responsible for nutrition as well as a captain, guide and maritime expert. He still lacks a doctor with marine skills.

Don’t ask Heidi Levasseur if she’s afraid. “I have difficulty answering,” she told us. I have a lot of confidence in this project. I’ve been working on it for so long that I’ve been thinking about it. »

The risks have been thought through, assessed, planned. The swimmer will wear an anti-shark suit and a GPS device to approve her crossing.

“By knowing how we protect ourselves against these risks and what the intervention plans are, it takes away a lot of stress,” she notes.

“I realized that by listening very closely to myself, to my intuition and to what my body tells me, I am most of the time able to find solutions to reharmonize things. »

This crossing is his “big dream”. It is also a way of inviting people to pursue their own dreams. To not only reach their limits, but to surpass them. Because “from overtaking to overtaking, it leads to always greater”.

“There’s something a little enigmatic, even a little sacred, in there. To say: I’m capable of doing that, I didn’t think so. »