Where is it?
The swim is from Moville, Donegal in Ireland to Portstewart
in Northern Ireland, and crosses the mouth of the Foyle
and Bann rivers. Click on the google map to see more.
27th July 2016. (A four day window has allocated for weather).
Is it really that hard?
Yes. Well to me it will be. As the crow flies (in a straight line),
this swim is 13 miles or 22.5km (22500m) long, that’s 900 lengths of a 25m pool.
Its also very unlikely to be that short, as with the tides and currents around that area, I will swim quite a zig zagged route increasing the distance of the swim. I also need to take into account the fast flowing waters of the River Foyle and the River Bann which I will cross on route.
Can I do it?
I genuinely don’t know. That’s what makes this a genuine challenge, and if I dont try I will never know. Currently, I am the fittest (for swimming), that I have ever been in my entire life, however I have never undertaken a challenge like this before, and have no idea if I can do it! That is why I have a training plan, and a lot of great friends and professionals on board to help me prepare myself the best I can both physically and mentally. If at any point in the swim I feel I need to quit, I will stop and get on the boat. You can follow my training and progress
Do I really think I can do it?
Yes most definitely, and certainly at the moment (Mar 2016, im feeling strong!)
Has it ever been done before?
Yes, and it was in reading about this amazing tale in a book when I was little which planted the seed in my head that it might just be possible so many years ago. An inspirational, and incredibly brave woman for the time, called
, completed the swim in 1929. She was from Brighton, England and was commisioned to complete the swim by the Town Clerk of Portstewart Urban Council to boost tourism. The funds she raised established homes for homeless families in England. She went on to wear the first ever Rolex waterproof watch, around her neck when crossing the English Channel. I am honoured to be in touch with her daughter, and I cannot wait to meet her in the New Year. This was a recorded swim, and it is for this reason I wish to recreate her exact route entering the water at Shrove beach, and (hopefully) exiting at Bearneville Port (by the IceHouse) in Portstewart on the coastal path. Read more about Mercedes
I have also heard of two other swimmers who may have completed this swim over the years but have not been successful as yet getting in touch with them or finding out where they swam from and too and how they got on. If anybody can tell me more please
Am I a professional swimmer?
Certainly not, and far from it. I was lucky to have had the chance to have grown up by the sea, and my parents gave me good swimming lessons, from which I ended up swimming for many years with
Coleraine Swimming Club
. I also swam for Coleraine Girls High School. Although I enjoyed swimming competitively with friends, and I would have won races back then, that was really as far as my swimming ever went. At the age of around 15 as I think is quite common, my studies and work life started to take over ‘hobbies’ and swimming got left behind. No matter what age I have been, I have many vivid memories of spending hours in the sea, on the beach, in rockpools, in the harbour. I find swimming very relaxing, theraputic and fun.
Will I use a wetsuit or cheat a ride on the back of a dolphin?
As this is probably the only time in my life I will ever do something like this, I want to have this swim recorded officially. I will therefore be swimming according to the rules of the Channel Swimming Association, and Irish Long Distance Swimming Association. These are simple: To wear nothing other than a swimsuit, a swimcap and goggles, and not to touch the boat or a member of its crew at any time. Actually im not sure if I did manage to bribe a Dolphin into giving me a ride if this is classified as cheating?
Why raise money for Portstewart?
I live in England now. Every time I go to
, I love it. I feel lucky to have had such a great upbringing there and would love others to experience the same. Whether its to play on the strand, swim in the sea, go crabbing in rockpools, dive off the harbour wall, have coffee, launch messages in bottles with my children, collect washed up treasures or simply just visit some of the lovely people there. A village is made by the people who live in it and the future generations that will. I want to give something back to Portstewart by encouraging everyone to try something new outside and to love everything Portstewart has to offer them.
What do I do when im not swimming?
I am a wife to hubby Ian, and mother of our two lovely children Lilly 5, and Basil 1.5. I am the Senior Executive of Access & Rights of Way for The British Horse Society.
Is it dangerous?
Any sport has its dangers, however by ensuring I am fully fit for my challenge, and prepared to deal with any situation I encounter on my swim, I keep the likelihood of something going wrong very low. If I or a member of the crew on the boat decide I should not complete the swim due to any reason, I will stop and get out of the water, I would not put my life at risk. The realistic dangers are Jellyfish, Hypothermia, motion sickness and exhaustion which I am preparing myself well for to avoid. I want to really enjoy this, and inspire my children and others to follow their dreams, I won't put myself in danger and will stop if I feel it's too much.
Will I get eaten by a shark? What about those Whales?
No. Most sharks live in much warmer waters, and the only sharks that may fancy joining me are basking sharks which feed on planktin and small things, not me. Those beautiful Whales, usually only come to shore to die if they are ill, not eat people. The marine life on the north coast is nothing to worry about, and if anything, the only thing I will be watching out for are
Lions mane Jellyfish
, which, worst case will give me a sting or 10.
How can you support me?
Follow me on facebook and Twitter. Sponsor me by donating to the fund and the RNLI. Gift an essential part of my training to increase my chances of finishing. Visit Porstewart!
Have a question?
Send me an email or ask on facebook