Monday Morning Similarities – Stephen & Lisa

I find a lot of similarity between Stephen Redmond’s fantastic Molokai Channel and Lisa Cummins’s two-way English Channel.

Waiting for news and updates all through a Sunday afternoon and night. The trackers working intermittently or not at all, and hoping for more updates from the boat through third parties. The agonising last 10 hours, wondering where they were, imagining ourselves out there in the water with them, wishing there was some way we could send out some mental help to them, wanting so hard to be able to send them our best, knowing that these two extraordinary people were making you really proud to be Irish and to know them even slightly is a privilege.

Stephen and Lisa both getting swept past the normal finish points and ending up in locations where no-one has ever previously ended a swim, Lisa on Dungeness and Stephen on Oahu’s Chinese Walls.

Finally, tired when the swims were over, trying to sleep, and lying there in the dark, thinking it all over, thoughts and imagination swirling around your head, knowing how difficult it would be to explain to others just how extraordinary these achievements are.

Another great moment in Irish and global sport, spent at home in front of a computer and a phone, connecting with friends also awake doing the same thing, done by two ordinary people, with nothing but dreams and extraordinary determination propelling them. In some way the loneliness of the watcher mirroring the loneliness of the swimmer, the empathic bond that distance swimmers feel with each other, purely through being the few who can understand.

First thing on different Monday mornings, listening to each of these extraordinary athletes on Irish radio, sounding like they hadn’t been through hell, my eyes tearing up just listening to them.

I thank them both for these unique moments and memories and making me so proud.

Steve Munatones a post-swim report on DailyNewsOfOpenwater which, as always with Stephen Redmond, is essential reading.

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