Tag Archives: Ocean’s 7

Steve Redmond’s Homecoming

If you are in Ireland, you know Steve is getting pretty great coverage and reception here in Ireland, as it should be. Many interviewers don’t really get it, you can hear the bemusement in their voices. But in fairness to them, those of us who are swimmers have trouble wrapping our heads around it.

For most of the world, to swim ONE of those swims is only a dream. Only the tinyest percentage of people complete one or two.

Steve, for now, is the only person, ever, to complete all seven swims and will always be the first.

Just pause there for a moment: Three years, seven Channels, eleven swims.

Hundreds of people met Stephen and Noel Browne, one of Steve’s most trusted friends, Tsugaru crew and significant organiser and behind the scenes powerhouse, when they returned to Cork, the Rebel County, and the real capitol at Cork Airport last night. They had spent almost all the time from immediately after finishing Tsugaru on Sunday travelling home.

Media interviews

Many travelled in convoy back to West Cork through Clonakilty with car horns honking toward Ballydehob, with bonfires blazing on the hills, a Celtic tradition thousands of years old. “Home is the sailor, home from the sea”.

Stephen & Ann, Noel & partner

There were special greetings and homecomings in Cork. Steve’s wife Ann was at the airport, as were his two kids, little Stevie and Siadbh, family, friends, supporters and swimmers.

If you’ve read Steve’s previous accounts of swims here, you will know that his mantra while swimming is to repeat his children’s names, and as Ann said last night to Sandycove Island Swim Club Chairwoman Liz and myself, when things get tough he adds her name!

Stephen and the Lough Ine swimming & support Crew

Stephen was grabbed by national TV on exiting the gate to much cheering, but he moved to grab his family and close friends, including close friend and Lough Ine training partner and Sandycove Island Swimming pioneer and Channel swimmer Steven Black.

Stephen & Steven

We waited around, talked a lot of swimming, and then the man himself came over, lots of manly and womanly swim hugs and we got time to talk with him, and he shared some details of the Tsugaru swim, that made all us swimmers feel like we were there. As Liam said, that moment alone was special. Stephen said to me he’d already written up the Tsugaru swim report for me, and I hadn’t even asked this time, I figured he had more than enough professionals hanging on his time and every word. We were there because we are all open water swimmers and admirers and he is one, in fact right now he is The Swimmer.

We took a picture with the members of Sandycove Island Swim Club who were able to make it.

Back l-r : Lisa Cummins, Steven Black, Ciaran Byrne, Finbarr Hedderman, Liam Maher, Stephen Redmond, Owen O’Keeffe, Noel Browne, Liz Buckley
Front l-r: Ossi Schmidt, me, Gabor Molnar

Being an unashamed fanboy, I of course got his autograph, not for the first time.

Welcome home Steve. You make us all proud to be Irish, proud to be swimmers, and proud to know you. Arise Cork, and take your place among the nations of the world.

So, Stephen’s Tsugaru swim report, coming in two days!

Two men. Two Channels. Two Heroes

Stephen Redmond today made swimming history by becoming the first person to complete the Ocean’s 7 swim challenge after 12 hours 45 minutes.

Around the world thousands were following Steve’s fourth Tsugaru Channel swim to complete the challenge, including a bunch of tense Sandycove swimmers at  Communications Central in Sandycove-on-Sea (aka Dover).

Steve after completing Tsugaru!

And along with Stephen, we were all remotely following a heroic English Channel swim by a very close friend of ours.

It’s hard to explain what these swims mean to us all. Both men are heroes, both men are personal idols, and we’re proud both men are our friends and inspiration.

Be awed and inspired by these two men. And yes, I know the name of the second swimmer isn’t on this post, but those who need to know, already know who he is.

Penny Palfrey has started Cuba to Florida (at 12pm GMT)

Update: After swimming strongly all through Saturday, and well into Saturday night, unfortunately Penny was pulled after over 40 hours of swimming, around 6 am GMT, due to encountering a strong south-easterly current which was pushing her away from land. As always, thoughts and best wishes to the swimmer and her crew this morning.

(Mid-day GMT time, Friday 29th).

Her tracker is LIVE! at

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0cAjquq6FOarjFHTO97xpp2abd0R729uN

Penny’s twitter account for irregular direct updates.

For those of you non-swimmers, Cuba to Florida has long been a swim dream since Diana Nyad first attempted it in the mid 70’s. Susie Maroney swam it in a shark cage and wetsuit (so it is considered an assisted swim). Diana Nyad made two attempts last year, which, though beyond the reach of most of us, were coloured by deviations to the normally accepted rules of Channel swimming. She was stopped by severe agonizing jellyfish stings. She will make another attempt this year.

But if anyone in the world can do this it’s (Lisa Cummins or) Penny Palfrey. It will be a long weekend just watching, so imagine how it will be for Penny swimming. We are all behind her, Penny is considered currently the world’s greatest marathon swimmer by those in the sport (and will do this swim without the huge and all-pervasive publicity machine of Diana Nyad so there won’t be as many information sources).

Penny will FOLLOW this warm water beast, where there are huge risks of sharks and Box Jellyfish, (which cause enduring agony for swimmers stuck) by attempting to complete the Ocean’s 7 with The Mouth of Hell, the North Channel between Scotland and Ireland, in August, at the other end of the temperature scale and with our local Lion’s Mane jellies which though not individiually as severe as Box, exist in larger blooms and have a paralysing cumulative toxic buildup effect.

Penny is a member of marathonswimmers.org forum, where she occasionally posted in-between all her insane training.

 

Update: Stephen Redmond pulled after 12 hours on second attempt

Edit: sorry I didn’t update this earlier, I figured all those interested would know but a lot of people are still checking.

Stephen was pulled out after 12 hours on his second attempt due to being stuck in an adverse current. Those of you who have read the blog for a long time will know I DON’T write about unsuccessful swims of friends.

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Steve will be starting about 9PM MT tonight. He “is likely to start near the village of Sai on the main island [then] he will swim North West to try and catch a current that runs through the strait. This current should push him towards the north island and the village of Toi.

His tracker is http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0Pq45dlefLb8tXP133Oa66WlB4UtnplaP

Tsugaru is noted for fast currents and Steve has been working on increasing his stroke rate. The big man will throw everything at Tsugaru to ensure his place in swimming history and we are all behind him.

EDIT: Steve started just after 11PM GMT, but due to bad weather, the swim was called off after 5 hours. Let’s hope he gets another better shot in the next few days.

Edit: Due out Sunday night: 9 PM. Best of luck Steve!