BALLYDEHOB endurance swimmer Steve Redmond has said that taking on the 38km Baltimore harbour to Mizen Head challenge was the hardest thing he’s ever done.
And even though he can barely remember being pulled from the water just a few kms short of completing the uncharted swim last Friday night, he says he’ll be back to give it another shot.
‘It’s unfinished business,’ said the swimming legend, who was the first person in the world to complete the Ocean’s Seven challenge, which is the equivalent of climbing the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.
After two years of planning, the 57 year old departed Baltimore last Friday at 5.45am, admitting he was never so terrified in his life.
What makes this swim – 21km around Cape Clear, on to the Fastnet then a further 17km to Mizen – so challenging, is not just the distance, but the cross tides.
‘We got to the [Fastnet] Rock in nine hours, when it should have taken seven-and-a-half. I got stuck in that gap between Sherkin and Cape for two hours where I was literally bashed by waves every 30 seconds,’ he said.
The winds and the tides turned as he headed to Mizen, but after a full 15 hours and 10 minutes in the water, some time after 9pm, his support team had to pull the plug.
They were Kieran Collins, Nathan Timmons and Noel Browne, along with Steve’s wife Anne, and son Steve.
‘Around 3km off Brow Head, it was all over. I was near death, I didn’t even know where I was. The tide was a monster, it beggared belief. It was as if it was trying to rip me in two, and pull off my goggles. I couldn’t get anywhere and was just standing still. It took me nearly 20 minutes to get out of the water, up on the ladder and onto the boat. I couldn’t move my arms, and Mizen would have been another 5km on from that,’ he said.
‘It was without a doubt the hardest swim I’ve ever done, the hardest day I’ve ever put down in the water,’ he said.
But far from being disappointed, he said he was ‘very happy.’
‘I never thought of giving up until right at the very end,’ he said, admitting that at times he felt as if he was hallucinating.
What helped spur him on was the fact that the swim was in aid of Marymount Hospice, and so far he’s raised over €8,000.
In July 2020, Steve completed a record-breaking 40km swim from Baltimore to the Fastnet Rock, and back again.
That took him 15 hours and 35 minutes, where he suffered over 20 jellyfish stings.
‘This time, we were facing into the complete unknown but we learned a lot and we’ll be back again,’ said a determined Steve.
Earlier this year the basketball coach published a book which details all his gruelling swims in some of the world’s most treacherous waters, called ‘Fastnet The Final Challenge.’