Donal Self portrait b&w 95% IMG_3831_01.resized

LoneSwimmer Has No Balls

A couple of years later, I am still a little surprised that LoneSwimmer.com won the inaugural 2012 Irish Blog Awards for Best Sport and Recreation award (when the  site was also a finalist in a second category). Ireland is a sport-obsessed country, even more than many others. Football (soccer), football (rugby), football (Gaelic), football (compromise rules) and even…

Storm clouds grow behind Finbarr

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – V – “That’s it. I’m done”

Fin increased his stroke rate after the feed and by 15:35 he’d made three kilometres in the preceding hour. Any half hour dip he suffered seemed to be compensated for in the thirty minutes either before or afterwards. First Mate Mark was plotting every 30 minutes by hand on a chart, separate from the GPS screens, and throughout the…

Quinton Nelson, the pilot who changed the North Channel.

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – IV – Just Eight Laps of Sandycove

For the early hours of the swim, Finbarr was positioned and feeding (including a third of a Turkish Delight) on the port side, while one of the SeaCat fast ferries to Belfast was rapidly approaching about a kilometre south on the starboard side. This threw a large wake which reached Fin a few minutes after his feed, bringing the…

Donaghadee Harbour Lighthouse IMG_3005_01.resized

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – III – Anyone for an early morning dip?

There are three overarching obstacles with the North Channel, all similar to the English Channel but two at least are usually worse. The first that had already affected us in the earlier call then stand-down, then call again, was the very unpredictable weather, similar to the English Channel. The North Channel just happens to be another 200…

Finbarr & Craig argue before the swim. Craig says Fin is getting off easy as he won't be stuck with me on a boat for a day.

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – II – Famous Pilot, Famous Boat

Finbarr, Craig Morrison and I arrived in Donaghadee on Saturday evening after a long drive. A not-so-brief trip around a Bangor supermarket saw we accumulate the usual Channel swim expedition-load of food, stopped off at our accommodation and proceeded to meet pilot North Channel Quinton Nelson on board the boat down in Donaghadee before sunset…

The race that wasn’t

Finbarr started it with the idea of a Sandycove three-lap invitational race at the end of October. With two weeks to go and no mention, Carol Cashell and I raised the idea again and discussion ensued. With less than a week to go the starting lineup was small. The forecast for the weekend showed the…

Minutes of first Chris Bryan (International) Fanclub AGM

Special Guest! Chris Bryan, Irish International Team open water swimmer Attendees: Finbarr Hedderman, Owen O’Keefe, Donal Buckley Minutes Item 1: Fanclub financials: Economist Finbarr appointed de facto Treasurer to start fundraising. Item 2: Get some international members. Action Chris. Item 3: Get some girls members. Action Owen. Item 4: Owen’s pants. Special working sub-group convened…

How To: Understanding hypothermia in swimmers – Moderate & Severe Hypothermia

Previous article: Understanding hypothermia in swimmers: Mild hypothermia. Moderate hypothermia is obviously more serious than Mild hypothermia which I covered previously in the first part of this series. I’m always a bit bemused by the medical terminology of hypothermia. Many serious open water swimmers will have experienced moderate hypothermia and can tell you there’s nothing moderate about it.…

Lewis Pugh

Introducing a precise open water swimming temperature scale

Next year’s Cork Distance Week will have a record number of attendees, many from outside Ireland. Some will be coming nervous or terrified about the potential temperatures especially if they heard any of 2011′s details. They need a scale of reference for that fear and we need a common terminology! Steve Munatones on Daily News…