Marathon swimmer begins his last epic challenge

A record-breaking marathon swimmer has embarked on what he says will be his final epic challenge — bidding to become the first person to swim the 80km from Ireland and Wales.

West Cork-based Steve Redmond, 48, who made history last year by becoming the first person to complete the gruelling Oceans Seven challenge, left Carnsore Point in Wexford just after 10pm last night on the 35-hour endurance swim in aid of the RNLI.

Trailed by his support team, Redmond, 48, will face strong currents, swarms of jellyfish, and shipping traffic.

Pending weather and sea conditions, and his own physical and mental stamina, Redmond, who has never attempted a 24-hour swim before, hopes to land on Whitesands beach on St David’s Head in Pembrokshire around 9am tomorrow.

He had vowed never to take on another marathon open-water swim again, but changed his mind after the three Bolger brothers were drowned while fishing off Waterford in June.

“This time last year, I vowed never to put my body through another endurance swim,” said Mr Redmond.

“A year later and I am now looking forward to this next challenge, which I have always wanted to complete.

“The fact that this swim has never been done by one person alone makes it more enticing to me and, if the weather and tides allow, I am confident that I can make it.

“I am also looking forward to raising some funds for the RNLI who battle the elements day in day out to save lives at sea.”

The former rugby player and triathlete has become one of the world’s top long-distance open-water swimmers. He was the first person to swim around the Fastnet Rock off the south coast of Ireland.

He used it as training for his successful Oceans Seven Challenge which he completed in Jul 2012 by swimming the treacherous Tsugaru Straight in Japan — the last of seven of the world’s toughest open water swims.

He had already completed the English Channel, North Channel (Northern Ireland-Scotland), the Straits of Gibraltar, the Catalina Channel (California), Cook Strait (New Zealand), and the Molokai Channel (Hawaii).

Steve hopes to return to Ireland on Saturday morning on the Stenaline ferry from Fishguard.

* You can track Steve’s progress online and donate to his charity on the website mycharity.ie.

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