Irish swimmer achieves global feat


An Irish endurance swimmer has become the first person in the world to complete a gruelling seven-channel swim around the world.

Steve Redmond from Ballydehob, west Cork, will make his triumphant return to his home town tomorrow after completing the final stretch in the Oceans7 Challenge.

The amateur (46) swimmer saw off competition from professionals around the world who were racing to complete the challenge.

Mr Redmond, who started the massive undertaking in August 2009, entered the record books last night when he crossed the Tsugaru Strait in Japan. He completed the last leg of the challenge - a 20km stretch - in 14 hours 24 minutes.

The Oceans7 Challenge is considered to be the open-water swimming equivalent of climbing the seven summits.

The route is made up of seven channels of different lengths and difficulties around the world.

Mr Redmond started by crossing the English Channel between England and France, followed by the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

He then completed the Gibraltar Strait between Spain and Morocco, followed by the Catalina Channel off California. Then he did the Molokai Channel in Hawaii, followed by the Cook Strait between the north and south islands of New Zealand, before completing the Tsugaru Strait in Japan yesterday.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring congratulated Mr Redmond, pointing out he had completed one of the most difficult swimming contests in the world.

“We can’t imagine the effort which Steve put into this challenge,” said Mr Ring. “This is a proud day for him and his family.”