When I got all details from the Oceans Seven series I was sure that my main challenge would be the North channel. I swam rough places in the world and my experience told me that this one will be toughest.
Finally I can say: YES, it was. This was a journey that took me to my worst condition physically and psychologically to becoming the most happy person achieving my dream.
My North Channel story started in 2016 for the 1st attempt. I felt myself in good condition but in hindsight my body wasn’t ready to accept the cold. I spend only a week before my swim in Bangor. The day of my swim it wasn’t my day. Around 7 hours in the sea I got a hypothermia. The rescue services took me to Scotland and over there I visited the hospital. A few hours later I left back to the boat and the way back to Donaghadee. I felt very very bad in myself. I collapsed. I lost something. Trust. I know what I did wrong. It wasn’t enough my time in the cold a to take a perfect acclimatisation. And the team. I must trust in my team! If I lost this trust I must change it if I want to succeed.
It was my best choice to choose Jacqueline, Padraig INFINITY TEAM!
In 2018 I left home to take what would be my second attempt on the North Channel. I spend so much time with Ned Denison and so many other local friends at Kinsale. They help me a lot to be ready for the channel. I spend close to one month in Kinsale, Co.Cork and after that two weeks more at Donaghadee, Co. Down untill my window. I felt very very good with the chunky Dunkers. They are really fantastic and help a lot for any swimmers. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky with my race day too but it was an absolutely different feeling than it was two years before. After my early start I got two big Lion mane jelly stings on my body. It was very painful but I thought it is all I will get for today. It wasn’t. On my way I got around 15 stings and my body collapsed. I was in the sea for 10h 40m. My body was in very bad condition from the venom from the Lions Mane. I had taken on with water and finally this collapsed my left lung.
I spent seven days in the intensive care and another five days in the Ulster Hospital Dundonald. Monika was there and I was given so much good care by the team of doctors and nurses and physiotherapists. I wasn’t lucky. That’s it. My whole all team did a great job for me. That’s why in hospital we shake the hands with Jacqueline and Padraig for the coming back.
In 2019 I came back again to Donaghadee for my 3rd time. I did the same structure as the previous year. I spend much more time in cold. The only thing is that I did not want to swim in the dark. I would like to see the Lions mane jellyfish.
The Big Day arrived. I was calm because I did everything and I had a best team behind and next to me! Jacqueline and Padraig and Milo. All day long I felt good myself. I went a bit slower but I still had my goal.
The last part was rough enough because of the current at the Scottish part. Swimming against It. My last 2km was 3h long! Hard! When I was few hundreds metres far from my finish I saw the sandy cost. It was the biggest happiness and so sweet feeling to touch with my feet in Scotland. Little bit more then 12hours swim in the hell to the paradise! It was such a good feeling to gave a hug to Jacqueline and to Padraig on the boat. They were with me from the deepest lowest point in my life in the hospital and they trust in me 100% and I trust in them. Look them in the eye and see their heart and soul. This is what I need in the “office”! Best of the best! It was my greatest journey.
I achieve my goal to be the fastest overall time in the oceans seven.
Many friends of mine who help me to take my dream. Ned Denison and the Sandycove swimmers, the chunky Dunkers, Ion Lazarenco and many others.
Finally to say my biggest thanks to my Monica. I am the most lucky person with her. She was always behind me and always push me to take my dreams.
Well, my advice is that anybody wants to swim the North Channel just choose the INFINTY TEAM! You will be happy with them because they aim is the same like yours. To succeed the North Channel!
IMSHOF Honor Swimmer