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Customer interview: Nabaiji & Valentin's swimtrek

The Morocco Swim Trek is an international open water swimming competition. This event takes place in the Dakhla lagoon in Morocco and is divided into four open water stages over a total distance of 30 km (6.5 km / 8.5 km / 10 km / 5 km). This competition is open to all open water swimmers, whether professional or beginner, with one goal: to push themselves and their limits!

 

Nabaiji was once again present at the second edition of the Swim Trek. But this time, the team did not come alone...

 

Valentin, Decathlon customer, took part in the Mediterranean adventure to share intense sports experiences, talk to fellow enthusiasts and take the opportunity to test the new Nabaiji products before anyone else!

 

But anyway, Valentin will be able to tell you about it better than I can...

 

 

VALENTIN, CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF IN A FEW WORDS?

 

My name is Valentin Vincette, I am 30 years old and I have been a professional fire-fighter for over 10 years. My passion is long-distance triathlon, but beyond the sport itself, what I love more than anything is trying to surpass myself and continually pushing my limits!

 

 

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO COME?

 

Well, I first received an email from a certain Giuliana (as yet unknown to me), who asked me if I wanted to take part in an open water swimming race to test Nabaiji neoprene wetsuits.

 

(You should know that at that point I had been immobilised for several months with a plaster cast after a serious ankle operation...)

 

It turned out that Giuliana was the Nabaiji open water swimming product manager, as if that wasn't enough...

 

The adventure obviously tempted me, but I soon came back down to earth when I realised that the race would be taking place in less than a fortnight...

 

Luckily, and as motivated as ever, I was able to convince my surgeon to remove my cast 15 days early so that I could take part in the adventure. I was literally jumping for joy!

 

 

HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR IT?

 

After confirming my participation to Giu', my motivation was stronger than ever! So I got myself back into the pool after some 6 months without sport, with as much excitement as uncertainty, I must confess...

 

Over the next two weeks, I spent most of my time at the pool, swimming length after length. The level was not back yet, but mentally things were looking good! Only one question kept coming up: "Will I manage to finish my race?".

 

With this challenge in mind, all that remained was to swim without losing pace!

 

 

HOW DID YOU APPROACH THIS COMPETITION MENTALLY?

 

Once on the plane to Morocco, my stress levels really began to soar. And for good reason, I really was off on an adventure, alone to face my destiny and there was no turning back! Without much preparation, I was going to have to do a combined 30 km in 4 days and I did not want to disappoint the Nabaiji team!

 

Due to this pressure, two questions were running round in my head: "Will I manage to find my bearings?", "Will I adapt to the equipment?", let's not forget that it had been 6 months since I had last been in open water

 

Fortunately, this stress quickly dissipated as soon as I arrived in Casablanca, when I finally had the chance to meet the film crew, the photographer and the Nabaiji team!

 

Adrenaline had now displaced any doubt and the next morning, the real fun would begin!

 

 

HOW DID THE FIRST RACE GO?

 

After a quick group briefing, wetsuit fitting and a consultation with the Nabaiji team, I finally decided that I would be doing my race in a sleeveless suit (a first).

 

At the end of the morning the start was finally sounded and all my stress had completely drifted away. It was with a free and open spirit (like the water) that I began the long crossing, letting my instincts guide me and swimming with a single goal: maximum enjoyment!

 

To my great surprise, everything goes perfectly. I am on top form both physically and mentally, my ankle is not hurting at all and I forget about the equipment I am wearing! No burning, no irritation, no discomfort from wearing the wetsuit and the same goes for the swimming goggles! The gear is excellent, I'm like a fish to water!

 

But since it wouldn't be funny if it had all been plain sailing, I had to get lost... So I decided to follow a participant who was swimming at the same pace as me until I found the friendly Nabaiji team cheering me on from the water's edge. What a sight for sore eyes!

 

I'm already looking forward to tomorrow!

 

open-water-swimming

 

HOW WAS THE SECOND RACE FOR YOU?

 

On that day we set off for a good 8.5 km of racing! Preparing for the day with a bit of music as I like to do, a quick test of the long-sleeved open water wetsuit and we were off on a boat to "Dragon Island"!

 

From the start, there was a problem... I had managed to get Vaseline in my goggles, giving me blurry vision... So I was swimming blind and under these conditions I could feel that the race was going to be a long one!

 

A bit disabling for sure, but I try to put it into perspective: I am not aching, I'm feeling good, the equipment is perfect and I'm having a great time! More determined than ever and with Gilbert Montagné's music playing in my head, I ramped up my efforts and concentrated on my technique and on going faster.

 

I finally finished with 12 km on the clock instead of 8.5 km (one heck of a detour) but feeling really good physically and with a big smile on my face!

 

 

AND THE THIRD RACE?

 

It was the longest and therefore most anticipated race at 10 km! Well, having mistakenly done 12 km the day before, this one was merely a formality (haha)...

 

The conditions were optimal: glassy sea and, above all, no current. Convinced by the full wetsuit and how you forget you are even wearing it, I put it back on and jumped in the water!

 

As I had hoped, the good vibes I had the day before came flooding back and they remained with me until the end of the race. I completed the race hand in hand with a Swiss swimmer with whom I had done the whole stage (another life lesson). That spirit of sportsmanship comes over me and once again, I am in heaven!

 

 

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS FAMOUS "FINAL STAGE"?

 

The last race was 5 km, so much less than the day before. Nevertheless, that was no reason to take it lightly!

 

This time I opted for the sleeveless open water wetsuit and, with no worries about whether or not it would be comfortable, I didn't even use any Vaseline.

 

Once again, the race went beautifully well. I swam side by side with Céline (Nabaiji Test Engineer) until the end of the adventure. It was with a heavy heart and a lump in my throat that I crossed the finish line. The end. That's it…

 

 

ALL IN ALL, WHAT HAVE YOU TAKEN AWAY FROM THIS ADVENTURE?

 

Words fail me to describe this great adventure. It was the perfect mix of sporting challenge and a great lesson in life and humility.

 

I had a wonderful time with a Nabaiji team that was close-knit and friendly from the first contact. A team that I got to know day after day. The desert evenings under the stars and around the fire were almost magical.

 

In sporting terms, I had the pleasure to compete wearing quality equipment that was both efficient and comfortable. But I also and especially loved competing beside true aquatic athletes, whom I would like to congratulate!

 

Thais, who also came as a customer and tester, finished first in the competition (unsurprisingly, given that she is a Brazilian champion…)! Juan Jo’ (Product Manager) finished among the best in a very respectable 5th place. Céline (Nabaiji Test Engineer), originally a pool swimmer, finished in the top 10! Margaux (Head of Photography) had a breathtaking last race. And Giu' (Open Water Product Manager), former professional in the discipline, impressed me with her consistency. A real swimming machine!

 

I would also like to thank our two cameramen and our great photographer who succeeded in capturing a moment in my life that will forever remain etched in my memory!

 

 

A CLOSING STATEMENT?

 

A HUGE thank you to the entire Nabaiji team for this incredible adventure and for all the wonderful people I have had the chance to meet. You're the best!!!

 

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Régis
National Swimmer & Dialogue Leader
£39.99*
4.33 / 5 54 ratings
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