“I never imagined in a millions years that it would be as mentally and physically grueling as it ended up being,” Saint-Amour said of the English Channel swim. The three had to deal with rain, darkness and jellyfish during their swim, which took 11 hours 10 minutes and 51 seconds to complete.
Saint-Amour started swimming competitively at the age of 5 and was a member of the Lynbrook Varsity swim team starting as an eighth-grader at South Middle School. Dotty Amitrano founded the team 18 years ago and has coached it ever since. She said she has never coached a better swimmer than Saint-Amour, who graduated Lynbrook High School 2003.
During her senior year, Saint-Amour represented Lynbrook High at the New York High School Swimming Championships in the 50-meter freestyle event, where she placed in the top 16. She went on to swim at Wellesley College in Massachusetts where she majored in international relations and economics, and can still be seen swimming on “Survivor” — which makes her former coach quite happy.
“I’m so glad after all these years she kept up her swimming abilities because she’s a great athlete,” Amitrano said.” I’m glad she still has a love of the sport.”
Because the ongoing season of “Survivor” takes place on an island, there have been many water-based physical challenges that Saint-Amour has excelled in. At the start of the season, Saint-Amour said it rained for 15 consecutive days, which was quite demoralizing.
“By the time we got flint it had rained so much that we didn’t have any dry wood or leaves or anything to start a fire,” she said. “We didn’t eat for seven days, then on top of that it was spotty when we were actually going to eat. It was extremely tough to not know when you were going to be able to eat next.”
Saint-Amour said the weather didn’t bother her as much as her competitors because she was a lifeguard at the Town of Hempstead beaches for three years while in high School, and she was used to an outdoor climate. Also, her years of swimming came in handy many times during the competition.