Enniskerry’s Sarah Mortimer swims the English channel

Mortimer swam from Dover to Cap Gris Nez in 13 hours 35 minutes for charity Orbis

The eyes of the world might be on Tokyo, but closer to home Sarah Mortimer has been making waves as she completed a Channel swim from the UK to France on Wednesday night.

Mortimer, from Enniskerry, swam from Dover in southeast England to Cap Gris Nez, France, in a time of 13 hours and 35 minutes.

Mortimer is raising money to support the work done by sight saving charity Orbis in Ethiopia, and has set herself a number of sporting challenges since 2015 including a blindfolded 10K run, a marathon and a half ironman.

Despite not being a competitive swimmer, she began training for her channel attempt in 2018. She withdrew after 25km of her first attempt on July 1st 2021, but completed the 33km journey a month later.

Speaking ahead of her swim, she said: “In 2015, when I stepped onto the flight to Addis Ababa to take part in the Great Ethiopian Run for Orbis, I had no idea the impact this charity would have on me.

“Having seen the incredible work on the ground in Ethiopia, I realised I needed to do more to support. And here I am, ready to take on my biggest challenge yet - none of which would have been possible without amazing friends and family. I am humbled by the support for both me and Orbis.”

Meanwhile chairman of Orbis, Dr Maurice Cox, said: “Orbis is thrilled to receive support from Sarah. As a friend of Sarah’s, I am so proud of her today. It has been a long journey of sweat and tears, but I never doubted she would finish.

“Having known Sarah’s father, Liam, who was a former Irish international swimmer, I know he would have been bursting with pride to witness this magnificent achievement.”

Rules for swimming the channel state swimmers can’t touch the boat and can only stop every 30 minutes for up to 15 seconds. Due to Covid-19 restrictions Mortimer was allowed just five minutes on French soil before her return boat to Dover.

Orbis Ireland, help address one of the world’s most pressing needs - the treatment and prevention of avoidable blindness.