Steve to take plunge again

History-making endurance swimmer Steve Redmond may be back on dry land but he is set to take the plunge again within weeks — this time for charity.

Mr Redmond, 46, who was recovering at home in West Cork yesterday after becoming the first person to complete the gruelling Oceans Seven challenge, has unveiled plans to swim from Baltimore, around the imposing Fastnet Rock, and back to Schull for the Cork South West Association for Autism.

“They’re braver people than I’ll ever be. I hope to complete it in a few weeks,” he said.

“We’ll be aiming for the middle of August but it will all depend on the weather.”

He hopes the money raised will help the group develop a residential centre in the region for adults with autism.

Mr Redmond became the first person to complete the 26-mile Fastnet swim last August.

Local fishermen and sailors reckoned it couldn’t be done given the unpredictable tides and treacherous sea conditions at the rock itself.

But on his fourth attempt, Steve completed the swim on Aug 17 last in 13 hours and 25 minutes.

He used it as endurance training for his Oceans Seven challenge which he completed on Saturday by overcoming the last stretch of open water — the notorious Tsugaru Channel in Japan.

He has spent the last three years completing the first six of the world’s most daunting open water swims including the North Channel between Ireland the UK, the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the English Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Catalina Channel in the US, and the Moloka’i Channel in Hawaii.

Hundreds of people turned out to welcome Steve home at Cork Airport on Monday.

Hundreds more lined the roads between Skibbereen and Ballydehob as Mr Redmond, his wife, Ann and their children, Saidbh and Stevie, were paraded atop an open top bus. “It was unbelievable. I’ll never forget it, I don’t think we’ll see a double-decker bus in Ballydehob again for a long time,” he said.

“When you’re away, you don’t realise how many people are interested in this, so it was nice to see them so happy. It’s great for the area.”

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