SUCCESS CANNOT ALWAYS BE MEASURED BY A FINISH LINE
The Dál Riata Channel swim with Infinity Channel Swimming.
On Saturday, 11th July 2015 Team 210oSOUTHWEST set of from Cushendal to travel to the Mull of Kintyre for the start of their Dál Riata channel crossing.
Mo McCoy one of Northern Ireland’s first channel swimmers entered the water, touched landfall onshore at the Mull of Kintyre and the swim commenced in one-hour rotations. Olive a sixteen-year-old Ireland ice swimmer and indoor swimming champion were next to take to the water. The high waves, chop and turbulent conditions due to currents and eddies colliding around the Mull of Kintyre did not faze either of these ladies as all their training and learning in the lead up to the event paid off. Each stroke with a smile on their face – alive in the water – even when the porpoise raised his head behind them. Next in was John McElroy having successfully crossed the North Channel last year with the Eleven Feet relay team – picking up the pace with the turning tide and passing over to Adrian Poucher also of the eleven feet relay team.
After three relay rotations and the fall of the sky the 210oSOUTHWEST team with the might of Celtic warriors kept swimming. With over 47k swam Northern Ireland landfall was within touching distance. For three long gruelling hours strong currents and eddies along the coast of Northern Ireland continued and in complete darkness at 01.31am the last rotation Mo McCoy stepped up for her fourth swim fearlessly, diving into the darkness with water temperatures now at 11.5 degrees Celsius to battle for the shoreline. The GPS read 1.3k to landfall. At 02.22am and with the only 500m covered despite an increased stroke rate and a determined and gutsy performance from Mo, 210oSOUTHWEST gracefully bowed to the sea.
The words of Mercedes Gleitze 25th August 1928. “I shall never give up” she told a Central News reporter as she was being taken ashore were poignant – this team would be back to try again at this unchartered relay crossing.
The 210oSOUTHWEST team were true to the sentiments of Mercedes Gleitze and could relate to her experiences of the North Channel battle. The sea on this occasion withheld the right of these hearty swimmers to a passage to landfall but the experiences and lessons learned during this crossing were priceless. With 47.5 Kilometres successfully swam leaving only 8oo meters to go the crossing cannot be ratified as the finish line was not reached but, for the team and in the eyes of many who will hear their story it was a successful and mighty achievement.
210oSOUTHWEST team Mo McCoy, John McElroy, Adrain Poucher and Olive Conroy