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Stephen Redmond, Photo by: ©Mike Lewis/OlaVistaPhotography.com

Irish endurance swimmer first to swim seven channels

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Stephen Redmond, Photo by: ©Mike Lewis/OlaVistaPhotography.com

Ireland's Stephen Redmond, 47, has just become the first person in the world to complete a seven-channel swim across the globe.

The Irish Times reports the father-of-two from County Cork completed high endurance swims across the English Channel, the Catalina Channel near Los Angeles, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the Moloka’i Channel between O’ahu and Moloka’i islands in Hawaii, and he is also one of the few swimmers to have successfully crossed the narrow but choppy North Channel between Scotland and Ireland.

Redmond completed the final leg of the Ocean’s Seven challenge by crossing the Tsugaru Strait in Japan at about 5.50 PM Irish time on Saturday in a time of 14 hours 24 minutes.

Redmond made three previous attempts to complete the final strait, which lies between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, trailed by a boat carrying a support crew and paramedic. He successfully made it on his fourth attempt. 

The Ocean’s Seven challenge necessitates the ability to swim in both very cold and very warm seas. It also demands physical and mental toughness to defeat the strong currents and the stiff winds.

According to the Times Redmond completed the challenge over a period of three years and was beginning to suspect that he was never going to finish it.

'I am not a very good swimmer but I can just keep going, whatever is in me,' he told the Times.

Later in a post on his Facebook page he reportedly expressed his thanks to the dedicated team who have assisted him over the years on different swims.

'Thank you to every single solitary person who has helped out in any way big or small over the last two and a half years. Unfortunately there are just too many people to thank individually at the minute. Without help none of this would have been possible.'

Redmond told the Times he was always on the lookout for inspiration in any form. 'I use anything that gives me a mental edge. Marathon swimming is about as close as you can get to death while you are alive here on Earth. You lose all sense of perception while you are swimming in such difficult conditions,' he said.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1 on Sunday Redmond said: 'This one (the Japanese swim) was so difficult. And every time we got in we nearly got killed or a storm came up. The last time the water was 10 degrees. This time thank God it was 16 to 19. The pressure was building. Four or five people were close to doing it (completing the challenge). We only got into these things because we were told we couldn’t do it by the rest of the world – to show them that Ireland is the best. The interest was incredible but everyday you want to stop. You get so sick of swimming.'

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