A 62-year old American woman has set a new record for the Fastnet to Baltimore swim.
Suzanne Heim-Bowen travelled to Ireland specially to complete the 21km swim after hearing about it from Ned Denison, an American living in Kinsale, who is a big name in marathon swimming circles and runs the legendary Cork Distance Week training camp.
The first to obsess about the Fastnet to Baltimore swim, and the first to complete it 10 years ago, was Ocean’s 7 swimmer Steve Redmond, but the fastest time was set by Nathan Timmins who is an open water swim coach.
Nathan’s time was 6 hours 35 minutes but Suzanne reached Baltimore just after noon on Monday August 2nd after clocking in at 6 hours and nine minutes.
Marathon swimmer, Noel Browne, who was the official observer on board Kieran Collins’s catamaran dive boat Radiance, said they set out from Baltimore at 4.30am.
Suzanne left the Fastnet at 6am and arrived on dry land just over six hours later to the fanfare of different boat crews who cheered her in and a small but dedicated gathering of swimming enthusiasts.
Afterwards, Suzanne told Noel the Fastnet is her ‘new favourite swim.’
The following day, Fergal Madden from Galway, threw his hat into the ring and swam the distance in just over 7 hours so Suzanne is the official record holder and could be for some time to come.
‘A lot of people were in awe of her swim,’ said Noel. ‘For her to come all the way from America and to blitz it was amazing.’
The Fastnet to Baltimore swim is now a tourism thing. ‘We have better scenery, better facilities than Dover,’ said Noel. ‘We’re hoping to rival The Channel swim.’