IT still feels a bit surreal – that was the reaction from Clonakilty chef Nathan Timmins a few days after he successfully swam the English Channel – in 16 hours and 23 minutes and 23 seconds.
Nathan, who is a chef in the Emmet Hotel by day, but spends almost as much time swimming in Lough Hyne, near Skibbereen, set the Channel swim as a personal goal two years ago.
‘I was supposed to do it on July 15th but couldn’t because the weather turned against us.
‘I was relieved when I got a phone call last Wednesday to start the swim at 12.30am on Friday, August 25th and 16 hours and 23 minutes and 23 seconds later I landed on the beach in France.’ Nathan said that he and his ‘long suffering wife’, Carolann, have made a lot of good friends in the legendary Lough Hyne Lappers, including Noel Browne and Louis Masterson, who travelled the journey with him and acted as his feeders and support.
Nathan thanked all the Lappers, including Stephen Black, for their encouragement and said they know the sense of elation at completing a marathon swim.
Nathan said: ‘I was delighted when it was all over. The feeling I had coming into the beach was relief more than anything, relief that I had made land. I was overjoyed. It was an epic swim.’
Nathan said he started the swim at 12.30am on Friday morning because an hour before high tide is an easier time to start any marathon swim.
‘The start was a bit sloppy because the waves were choppy, but it settled down and the main shipping lanes were nice and calm. There were no jelly fish and the water temperature was 18.5 degrees. It was a comfortable swim and I got into a nice rhythm.
‘But the closer we got to land the stronger the currents became and that added 15 to 20km to the swim. It is 34km as the crow flies, but with the tides and the extra distance, it was 52km.
Noel Browne, who chronicled the journey on Facebook, told The Southern Star: ‘Nathan has put a huge amount of work into this. It is a great personal achievement. We’d all like to congratulate him on getting it done.’