Six Myrtleville friends are this week planning to swim twice across the English Channel to raise money for the children’s unit in Cork University Hospital.

The ‘Myrtleville Selkies’ are making final preparations for the first leg of the swim, this Friday, to France.

Considered the Everest of swimming, the relay channel swim is expected to take 40 hours, with the group entering the water at Dover and returning in the weekend ahead.

The team have trained in swimming pools and also in the sea off Myrtleville, a small harbour and beach 25km from Cork City.

The group has also participated in a specialist training camp in Carlingford, Co Louth, over the past 12 months, ensuring they will be able to cope with the challenging conditions of the English Channel.

They will be swimming at least double the length of the 35km-wide channel, as the currents force participants to swim from side to side as the tide ebbs and flows.

Ten years ago, a Bulgarian set the fastest channel swim, just seconds under seven hours.

Myrtleville Selkies Harry Casey, John Kiely, Brenda Sisk, Laurence Courtney, and Ann Smyth, will be joined on the swim by Marie Watson, head nurse of the CUH children’s unit.

All funds raised will go directly to the unit to support the costs of a new parents’ room.

With help from friends, family, and the general public, the swimmers are aiming to equip the room with couches, soft furnishings, a new fridge, and kitchen equipment.

Ms Watson said she and her colleagues were well-prepared for the channel challenge.

“We hope all our training over the past year will really pay off when we get out on the water in our boat, called ‘The Optimist’, which will be skippered by Paul Foreman,” she said.

“My one and only thought is that I will be doing this for the children to equip out the new parents’ room.”

People wishing to sponsor the swimmers can do so by donating online at or by calling 021-4234529.


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