Tag Archives: Ocean’s Seven

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.

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.

*************************************

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!

oceans7 banner

The Redman Aquathon – Fundraiser for Stephen Redmond

Fundraising event: Redman Aquathon

This event is a fund-raiser for Stephen Redmond’s 7th Great Ocean swim ! He hopes to be the first swimmer in the world to complete the Ocean 7 Swim Challenge. If you’d like to support him come along to the Aquathon on the 29th, will be a fun day!

Old Head of Kinsale, Co, Cork.
Old Head of Kinsale, Co, Cork. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Date: 29th April 2012
Location: Gary Lucas Beach, Garretstown ,Old Head of Kinsale, Co Cork
Distances: Swim: 650m Run: 6.5km
Start Time: 12.00
Registration Location: Speckled Door Pub
Race Director: Anders Ingelsten (+353)0879195421
Sponsor: The Edge Sports Shop
Organising clubs: WEST CORK TRIATHLON CLUB & SANDYCOVE SWIMMERS

Entry: Single €30, Relay €45 (includes food after the race at the Speckled Door pub)

This is the only AQUATHON run in Munster 2012 and it’s a FUNdraising event for Stephen Redmond’s final swim. All proceeds of the event will go to supporting Stephen. Therefore this race will be run on shoe string budget with no fancy prizes or goodie bags. The focus of the event is to have FUN and raise money for Stephen. All competitors need to either be a Triathlon Ireland Member or have a One Day License from Triathlon Ireland.

Note that registration can be done on the day and One Day Licences also can be bought on the day. The cost for a One Day License is €5.

Registration and the free after event meal is at the Speckled Door pub.

More details can be found here: http://www.westcorktri.com/

If you are unfortunate enough to not live in Ireland,  and are unable to attend, you can still donate to Steve’s fundraising on his site.

If the swim looks a bit short, some Sandycove swimmers will just be staying in the water.

 

 

Stephen Redmond’s Irish radio interview, just hours after finishing Molokai

I put it together with a selection of photographs from many of Stephen’s swims and maps of the different Channels and some Stephen’s family and crews. Enjoy it before it gets a takedown notice.

Photos from Stephen and Noel Browne. I’ll update it at some point with more pictures, especially Cook Strait and Molokai and Stephen’s homecoming to Cork and Ballydehob.

Important: Updated post on Stephen Redmond’s Molokai finish

It’s been a stressful two days for Stephen (and his supporters). A question was raised over the completion of his Molokai swim, which Stephen addresses below. The assertion was that Stephen might not have cleared the water and hence might not have completed the Molokai Channel swim.

I could write a whole post on this issue, (and probably will) but essentially the rules specify that generally the swimmer must stand clear of the water (there are exceptions for possibility and safety in different Channels and locations).

For those not familiar with the rules, the rule exists primarily to make sure the swimmer swims the full distance, as Evan Morrison succinctly put it in a private discussion, “The reason for the “clear the water” rule is so swimmers don’t do a shorter swim than the official distance. [...] while swimmers can always choose where they start, they can’t always choose where they finish.”

 In Stephen’s case, he swam further than the minimum distance, and there is NO doubt he swam Molokai Channel.

Stephen’s initial report was written after the swim to get a quick report out so he could get to bed. He wants to give some fuller details. I just received the report below from him, and he’s asked me to put it out as soon as possible and I am delighted to do so to address the concerns.

[T]his is my exact account of finish.
  Skipper Ivan Segaki directed me to swim with tide towards a point around 2 miles away. I Followed [the] boat all the way to the China Walls where a large group of people who had been following the swim had gathered to see the finish.
These included my wife Ann and the Hawaii channel swimmer Linda Kaiser who observed that i completed the swim properly.
  I approached the wall and asked how i was to finish the swim . I was told i needed to come right up out the water on the ledge which I did three times with my complete  body out of the water.to finish  
I asked them both was this ok as  i intended to swim back to the boat as the walkaround china wall to change was too far and uphill. I have 20 witness to this effect .
I swam back to the boat and got on steamed back to  the landing slip to change . hope this clear things up sorry about the description I sent out. I  followed the rules and did what was required of me to finish I was hardly going to make a mistake like that after that swim sorry about this I do not want any one saying I did not complete properly I am not in this to cheat strange world we live in.
If you can put this out I would appreciate it thanks for all your help
kind regards Steve Redmond

I’ll finish with the same thing I said to Steve:

NO-ONE is in any doubt that he swam the Molokai Channel. Stephen Redmond is a swimmer of the highest integrity and he has the full support of every Channel swimmer that I know. This should be the end of the matter.

Please give him as much support as you can, in any way. 

GO STEPHEN! We are all behind you and proud of you.

44 Miles of Hell – Stephen Redmond’s Molokai swim report

Satellite picture of Moloka'i (Hawaii) Deutsch...
Image via Wikipedia

Another week, another swim and another swim report from Stephen, to whom, as always, I am indebted for sharing this with me and therefore you. Untouched as last week, (Stephen writes this stuff on his phone always). I still can’t get over Stephen doing both these swims only 8 days apart. If you don’t have tears in your eyes reading this … well, all I can say is I did.

Aloha from Hawaii where what happened over the last few days is just sinking in. thanks for your support sir . 1100 27/2/12
  There was always huge doubt surrouding this swim. I weighed up and discussed all the pro and cons with my Friend Linda Kaiser in Hawaii  a lrgrndary cross channel swimmmer who lhas lived here all her life. Was it conceited of me to thinks I could accompish 2 of the worlds toughest channel in a week of one another.Ariving In Hawaii the weather and my body being in bits after the cook sraits swim put every thinh in doubt.
  Linda advised me to take a couple of days rest carefull high protien diet and some deep tissues massages from Mati Sapolu-Palmer another legendary triathelete in Hawai the heat and the preeration worked wonder and along with daily 2 miles swims at 6.00 am my body came back very quickly. The weather improved for the weekend and the swims was defintley on. AS always the hardest things is getting in the water and finishing so much has to work out. My wife ann was due out on Saturday  but missed the swim so we enlisted another Ironman to do the worst job which was support and feeding me 
eddie was quite incredible never a cross word and constant suppport.
   Saturday dawned after carb loading all day friday I felt terrible  with the combination of nerves and would the weather hold I was a wreck. We launched the boat with my Skipper Ivan Shigaki. watched him steam out towards Molokai on a calm sheet of water breathtaking place. i tried to rest till the short flight over to Molokai no good so just kept repeating the shot mantra i would use durung the swim.
Never give up  too far to fail  swim molokai which i must have said millions of time to myself in tandem with my strokes during the swim along with many prayer to St. Jude. I was Lucky .
  Molokai isalnd is a strange place  lonely and sad compared to the other islands with bright red clay anothet friend of Lindas Hellen drove us to the west beach were we would meet the boat no piers here just an old hotel and holiday homes . the water looke calm and as we ferried out gear out the boat in dry bags I lefy a small offering of a pice of quartz a frien had given me into this i put all my doubts about my body lasting ther weather  and left regret on the sand in Molokai. This is a Hawain tradition and some thing they take very seriously the skipper would not leave till it was done.
   Greased up and ready i said a couple of prayers for protection and plunged into  the channel.  We made great headwaty for the first 2 hours covering around 6 miles  water warm and very salty. we were swimminginto the night another first for me i have swam in the night but started with that intention.as darkness came on stars in the sky  and if you can imagine the scene beneath me in the sea the mermaids were singing (Humpbacks Whales) and when my light caught the Phospherence in the jellys and other sea creatures beneath me was like a scene from a star wars battle scene  you could not tell what was with you  what was near you just block the fears out and swim. Feeds went well and as we got out the weather changed our worst fears came calling I could sea the boat being flung from left to right. Ihave come to the conclusion that the Moloaki does not like me as this happend the last time as well. nothing could be done it is what it is.
  Through the night  mantras and prayers in a highly lit world of my own whales very calming. The longest night of my life i thought had been the night my first child Siadbh had been born this was rigtht up there .Praying for Dawn and a glimpse of shore  I kept going.No shore just 20/25 miles wind and swells jesus it was grim stuff. It was just get to the next feed and using every trick i could think of breathing in sixs on one side kicking cosistantly any thing .
 I do not nrmally want to now the time but after a few hours in daylight I asked my skipper how we were doing cool as a button the skipp told me I was fine and to keep going we had been in 13 hours and still had 8 miles to go heartbraking soul destroying Moloaki was exacting a huge demands from my body.
  I realy thought this was the end but how can you give up and let Linda kasier down after all the work of the week before. the positivity of the skipper and his crew Charles an ex marine telling me we were heasding for the promised land these are things that keep you going to the other side Knowing my wife ann was waiting on shore and worrying was hard you wonder why you do it stop and go that little bit futher over the edge and discover the will to complete.
  hour after hour we grinded it out sometime only making 3/4 of a mile tide ands wind will kill you in the end .I thought of my proposed landing on sandy beach  not as nice as it sounds in my condition I did not stand a chance of landing there the  rip tide and the wave rigth up to shore catch you and spear tackle you head first into the beach. it hold the highest accident rate of any beach on hwaii for broken limbs and collarbones scarey place. Shore seemd to get close then futher as we tried to get over the ledge where the tide is at its strongest. Jesus i was dead dead dead  just keep going crawl long times without seeing the boat in the swells meant it was very diffiuclt to know where i was going. At last ht e skipper made a descision to let me go with the sceaminfg tide which washed me around the by the blow hole and the keyhole  towards the china walls. any were would do at this stage.
  no one had ever landed there as is is a wall of razor sharp stone i some how managed to touch it and in my deleroius state tried climbing out and got hammered of the wall by the sea. I manage to swim back to the boat and was pulled aboard more dead then alive no joy just hatred for that mean strech of water that had kept me in it grips for 22.30 swimming 44 mile the longest ever crossing and the first by an irish person. Shock set in  quickly  Dry Retching pucking shaking  crying all in one not pretty.
    Today as i write this i think it realy happened but am not usre till i see the cert signed by the captain and Linda. A usual the whole community in skibbereen
ballydehob and my home townof castledermot kept me afloat with prayers and  positive thoughts Linda Kauserand the Hawaii Master swimming association who i could have done this without. The trip has made me understand that no one is alone and the are amazing people every where I look The irish people in other countrys are example to us that we can get on get up and overcome any thing . I hope this makes sense and is not to silly got to go now as tears are coming  again strange shit but the thiught of the pain in not finshing this swim last october and my brother Anthony pain came back to keep me going and this swimis dedicated to him.
 Regards Steve
The island of Molokai as viewed from Ka‘anapal...
Image via Wikipedia

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.

Stephen Redmond finished Molokai at 4.30 pm (local time)

According to Liz Buckley, wind and tide at his back.

No working tracker this time.

Stephen’s Facebook page for possible updates and his Ocean’s 7 page where Ivan is updating with an occasional Twitter:

1pm Update from Liz:

Update from Noel:
 
He just spoke to the skipper again, they have covered 14.9 miles. Winds and water have died down conditions very good.
Steve is feeding every 40 mins …
Go, go, go Stephen…
8:30 Pm (GMT) Update from Noel & Liz
Stephen has approx 7.5 miles to go – he has been fighting the tide but its about to turn in his favour. ETA is midnight :-))
 
Next update will be approx 10 / 10.30 pm…..

10.50pm update. Less than 5 miles left. ETA 12.30 am GMT!

GO STEVE!

UPDATE 11.35 GMT: Steve’s tracker is now working. http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0Pq45dlefLb8tXP133Oa66WlB4UtnplaP

Update: 1;20 am… Tracker hasn’t been updating. Steve is 2 miles out!

Update:
Just under 23 hours! Molokai Channel Done. Fantastic, Stephen! So proud of you.

Stephen Munatones post swim report from Oahu.

UPDATE: For people visiting who don’t live and breathe open water swimming like us weirdoes….

What is the Ocean’s 7? Stephen Redmond’s page has a good explanation.

Fundraising link for Stephen Redmund

Stephen’s Ocean’s 7 attempt is very expensive. He is getting a lot of support from friends and supporters in Ballydehob, but it’s a small town. And some people have asked here and elsewhere for fundraising links for Stephen.

Stephen and his team have a fundraising page at Oceans7.org or on Facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/fundrazr/activity/70239dba72614435bed0f5ebe317093b?psid=2cc73523b23342a19ea7469cdad12d8e

You can donate directly to Stephen’s Razr (Paypal) account.

If you have any problems with the Razr app (as I did), you can donate directly to Stephen by using the Paypal account info@oceans7.org .

If you have a blog or site and wish to embed the Razr app just add the the html code:

<a href=”http://apps.facebook.com/fundrazr/activity/70239dba72614435bed0f5ebe317093b?type=endorsement” target=”_blank”>Give// <![CDATA[
javascript" src="
// ]]>http://static.fundrazr.com/give-button/loader.js”></script>

Stephen Redmond's Cook Strait map

Stephen Redmond’s own Cook Strait report & GPS – Widowmaker swim

(I accidentally sent out a brief version of this post yesterday to subscribers, sorry about that).

Some of you will have already seen Stephen’s own post-Cook swim report. He emailed me on Saturday night so I can put it up here. He titled it a “Widowmaker swim”. Stephen is not prone to exaggeration so for him to say this, well it’s a sign of extreme conditions. I’m leaving his report untouched, as you get a better feeling for his exhaustion and elation. His time was just under 13 hours.

He was on his way directly to Hawaii yesterday for the very slight chance he’s get a weather window, but the pilot wasn’t very optimistic. We all have our fingers crossed for him.

In yesterday’s (deleted) post I mentioned the horrendous cost (especially Tsugaru) for Stephen. I’ve asked one of the team if they can give me any details for an account or fundraising page that people who wish can contribute directly to. I’ll update as soon as I have anything.

The Philip Rush mentioned is a famous English Channel swimmer (single, two-way AND three-way), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, organiser and head of the Cook Strait Association.

From Stephen:

His old man
Just an update on the cook strait swim. Has been a great trip to new Zealand meeting incredible people once again
Coming to the other side of the world  I thought it would be very lonely as I traveled alone but the Irish in Wellington have been incredible and looked after me and helped all week Dermot in the D4 bar fed me all week and Roslyn Murphy and Marie came on the boat as support team. The positivity was overwhelming and the swim is more theirs then mine as I could not let them down.
  We got in on Friday after an aborted attempt on valentines day where we steamed out had a look and Philip rush the swim coordinator and head man makes the call he supply’s a five man team who’s only mission is to get you across very professional and all I have to worry about is the swim which is enough.
 The call came through on Thursday that we had a chance on Friday after 3
Days of gales I was delighted had been training all week in Wellington harbour and this was our only chance this week as tides would be gone and I was due to fly on Sunday 19 no pressure then.
 Friday was flat calm with sun shining as we steamed over to the south island to start swim  so could not be better was well prepped and rested after flight down  passing the brothers which are two rock near south island Philip gave me the ok to grease up stretch and get ready  it is so unpredictable here but until you are getting in the water  you do not believe its happening  on this swim Philip is right next to you for the whole swim   In a small rib and the larger boat lays off in support for any thing that you need . Finally into the water which was surprisingly cold I swam into the rocks  and the guys guide me to  a small beach I managed to stand up quick pictures and clocks started Ann’s away  huge relief to be swimming.
  First 4 hours was heaven screaming along in the water at 54 strokes per minute perfect conditions. Stomach fine feeds great smooth and quick good communication with Philip and following his directions was simple . We had tracker on for this trip so people could watch it live on their computer in the fifth hour  the northerly wind starting to come up sooner  then forecast this worked against the tide which was coming southerly to create 6-8 swells  and the wind kept me cold in the water even though sun was shining.  We swam on through say encountering only a couple of shark which I never seen but Philip and crew spotted they stayed for about an hour inquisitive I guess .  The weather continued to deteriorate through the afternoon the poor girls on the large boat being seasick but still updating everyone with texts and Facebook and recording my stroke rest throughout the day  great people.
  The tide was just trying to kill me we had to cross over it so when it changed we  could use it to bring us in god was testing us to the limit for long
Periods it felt as if I was not moving at all but stroking harder then ever prayers and mantras were used over and over  never looking forward just at Philip breathing every six strokes due to the swells now tough stuff no point moaning this is what i wanted this is
My swim do I give up and spend the rest of my time in regret no. Just cannot happen . We are sweet around the point by tide and miss landing. Ending up in another bay where god seemed to be moving furniture Jesus it was rough darkness fell lights on mask and trunks we carried on wishing to get out  every time I stopped in despair I lost 50 metres cruel water Philip explains that I only have 1 k to. Do I can make out buildings on shore where a electric power line runs comes ashore from south island so close now close I keep telling my self  Philip fucks me out of my doubts and keeps me going as I am exausted and close to death. It take3 hours just to swim 1.5 k
In the end and when I touch rock there was no joy i just cursed that piece of rock and grabbed hold of it  swim done I had to get back to rub which was being covered in waves guys soaked and freezing from the day incredible people who got me over the cook straits I clamber he’d first into bottom of the boat telling the to get the f—k out of there  back to main boat in shock now pucking and hypothermic after swim they clean lanolin of as best as can be done and get  me dressed  as quick as possible  huge joy and relief all round I had been very lucky Philip explains that they had never had a swim finish I such  rough conditions  down on the floor of the boat for the steam back safest place to start recovering dry retching and puking acid all the way back everyone in high spirits how could I have let these people down truly a team effort very rough slow steam against 24 knot northerly wind .
At last we come into are berth o be meat by over 100 irish people draped in Tri colours who had waited hours for us I was overcome and in tears at this  these guys are are loss but new zealand s gain and it is great to know they are here as the Irish never give up adapt overcome and succeed  . Huge community  help and involvement back home with no one sleeping in Ballydehob and castledermot  all of this I used to get over  thanks to everyone for prayers and  belief .
Post swim badly badly burnt on backs of legs and face shoulders good freeing up getting ready to fly to Hawaii tomorrow very tired  but delighted to be alive told death to get lost in the end we
Prevailed.
I have no word for how great the people and new zealand has been to me I am humbled. By it all thank you all I can never repay the debt I owe
Kind regards Steve redmond
Hope this is not too
Crazy sir

Fastnet swim

Stephen Redmond completed Cook Strait this morning

I’m sure 99% of you know by now that Stephen was successful on Ocean’s Seven crossing number 5, finishing this morning (GMT) but just in case you are part of the 1% …

CONGRATULATIONS STEPHEN!

(I was away swimming today, he was only about 1k from land when we started, and Lisa and Liz updated us during the session).

Stephen Redmond in Cook Strait tonight.

Irish Water Monster, Stephen Redmond rescheduled his remaining Ocean’s Seven swims during the winter. (I’d been meaning to ask him to write again about them).

But anyway, he is currently in New Zealand for his first big swim of this year hoping tackling the Cook Strait hopefully starting at 5pm GMT tonight. Open water swimmers worldwide but especially the Irish swimmers are all behind him wishing him success.

GO STEPHEN!

Here’s his tracker from Liz (Chairman of Sandycove Island Swim Club).

Update: Well the tracker looked odd. According to Lisa, the swim was called off for tonight.  Let’s hope there is a weather window tomorrow. I think only marathon swimmers and climbers understand this pressure.

GO STEPHEN!

Will 2012 be the greatest year ever for marathon and open water swimming in this generation?

Captain Webb’s successful English Channel crossing and Gertrude Ederle’s solo make 1875 and 1926 maybe the two greatest years ever.

But for this generation of open water and marathon swimmers, operating under Channel rules, 2012 is going to be really exiting and probably astonishing.

Some of the events on the list:

  • The 2012 Olympic Open Water 5 & 10k event which will once more bring open water swimming to a wider world.
  • And from a personal point of view, I will have friends swimming many marathon swims including the English Channel, Jersey, Rottnest, Catalina, Zurich, Windermere, MIMS, and more. (I might even swim something myself).

And that’s not the whole list. Many of you will be aware of other swims not yet spoken of publicly.

What an exciting year 2012 promises to be!

End Polio

The Penny Palfrey Project

 Astonishing ultramarathon swimmer Penny Palfrey launched a new website last week to promote and support her Cuba to Florida swim next June, AND next year’s Rotary Club charity Global Swimarathon to eliminate polio. The two are inextricably linked. Penny is the first Global Ambassador to end Polio, and she needs to fund-raise for the Cuba-Florida attempt.

Cuba to Florida has been attempted by a few, and even swum (by Susie Maroney) but in a shark cage. Penny will be swimming without a shark cage. Penny Palfrey is the world record holder for the longest solo unassisted open water ocean swim and Penny is regarded as “the best” open water marathon swimmer in the world, highly respected and admired by her peers and the one of the few people capable of defeating the water that divides Cuba from Florida.

The Rotary Global Swimarathon’s website. The swim will be on February 25th organised by local Rotary Clubs and you can register interest on the website for updates, download a poster for the project, donate to the charity or sponsor Penny directly. Sponsors can even get to join Penny’s team.

You can contact the Rotary Clubs in your area (e.g Irish Rotary club directory or International). I’ve contacted Waterford Rotary Club to offer assistance in organising a swim for that day. The original Rotary Swimarathon was a team relay to do the maximum number of lengths in 55 minutes, something many of us could do by ourselves. Why don’t you do the same?

And the Cuba to Florida isn’t all. Penny is signed up for the Mouth of Hell, the North Channel in August of next year, the last swim for her in her attempt to be the first to complete the Ocean’s Seven, having recently completed Tsugaru.

As the quote above says, marathon swimmers (and others) around the world consider Penny the world’s best. But it’s a costly sport. For Penny to complete these swims in her own words; “we need to raise the money to pay for it”; she doesn’t have a huge PR organisation.

The Rotary Club has a donation page for one-off, or recurring donations. The Rotary Foundation enables Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

Edit: By the way: here’s Penny’s Twitter account.

 

 

Stephen Redmond in Molokai tonight!

Stephen continues his extraordinary journey toward the Ocean’s Seven, after swimming Catalina Channel only last week, with the Molokai Channel, between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii beckons. It’s 26 miles wide. Go all the way Stephen!

Molokai will be warm by our standards, but is known for jellies, sharks, winds & currents and big swells, especially at this time of the year and potentially large breakers at start and finish. Logistically it’s more difficult. Here’s a good description of it from the record breaker Darren Miller last week on The Daily New Of Open Water Swimming.

I really wish we had a tracker.

EDIT: Update from Facebook via Lisa …

He's got 14k done, 3hrs 15mins in. Stomach and feeding all ok so far. 32k to go.

All good so far. Go Stephen.

EDIT 2: Morning Update from Ossi:

Morning all…unfortunately Steve was pulled out of the water on safety grounds! He swam 5 miles in the first 2 hours and then hit a brick wall in the form of the ‘el nino’ current something that normally appears once every 10 years. He was basically swimming onto a vicious head current that was creating 8-10 foot swells.anthony and the skipper couldn’t keep sight of steve any longer as it was dark and so they had to pull him. At least he gets to fight another day! Thanks for all ‘the good wishes.

That’s a tough one for Stephen. He only completed Catalina last week, and I doubt any of the Irish swimmers think this will stop him, but the main problem that all swimmers have who aim so high, is finance, particularly for the remoter locations, like Molokai and the Cooke Strait. I look forward to meeting Stephen at the Channel party!

Oahu (top left) and Molokai (long island off centre)

Stephen Redmond completes Catalina Channel

He had a tough swim apparently, (those who know of Stephen know those words seem unusual together). Stephen is the first (and only) person to solo Fastnet Lighthouse. Fastnet might mean nothing to you, unless you are a sailor or Irish, but it’s some of the most fearsome open water in Atlantic coastal waters due to huge swells and wind.

Fastnet or Carraig Aonair
Image via Wikipedia

Don’t have a time yet. That’s English, Gibraltar, North and Catalina Channels from the Ocean’s Seven done!

Next he’s off to Hawaii for Molokai. Go Stephen! With the North Channel already done for him, and if he can find the funds, he might catch up with Penny Palfrey in the chase. Or maybe first woman, and first man? Wow, this is exciting. Really looking forward to this year’s Irish Channel party in three weeks.

Penny Palfrey in Dover

Ocean’s Seven – Six down, one to go for Penny Palfrey

From Penny Palfrey’s site:

Ocean Seven – 6 Down 1 to Go For Penny

The [O]cean’s Seven is the marathon swimming equivalent of the mountain climbing challenge, the “Seven Summits”. But unlike its land based equivalent, the ocean’s seven has never been completed.

(Donal’s note: The Ocean’s Seven was proposed as a goal by Steve Munatones. Steve, did you think someone would get so close so quickly? Although I guess it always seemed that Penny was the most likely?)

The seven swims referred to, are as follows (together with details of location, distance and particular difficulties/challenges) :

English Channel (England to France – 34k) – cold, strong currents, heavy shipping traffic. (Another note from Donal. I wish to dog it had only been 34k. 60k for me!)

Cook Strait (between north and south islands of New Zealand – 26k) – cold, strong currents, marine life

Molokai Channel (between Molokai and Oahu, Hawaii – 42k) – big oceanic swells, strong currents, marine life

Catalina channel (California, Los Angeles – 33k) – swum at night, cold, marine life

Tsugaru Strait (Japan – 20k) – very strong currents, cold, often rough

Strait of Gibraltar (Spain to Morocco – 15k) – strong currents, windy, heavy shipping traffic

Irish North Channel (between Scotland and Ireland – 34k) – very cold, often rough and windy, nasty jellyfish

With Penny’s recent conquest of the Tsugaru Strait, between the Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Honshu, Penny‘s now completed all of the above, except for the North Channel.”

Penny Palfrey in Dover