STEPHEN Redmond, a man who has truly earned the title of being ‘a real-world hero’, was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame at a special ceremony held in London recently.
The event, which was held in the De Vere Beaumount Estate in Old Windsor in London, was attended by Stephen (52), his wife Ann, their two children Siadbh and Stevie, while a few of his die-heard friends and swimming buddies – Noel Browne and Stephen Black from West Cork, as well as Ned Denison from Cork – also went along for the trip.
‘It was a great event and a great occasion – an opportunity for us to finally celebrate the whole experience because it does take time to process and put it all into context,’ Stephen said of his Oceans 7 success.
From 2009 to 2012, Stephen dedicated much of his life to planning and preparing to swim seven of the world’s most difficult channels.
‘It took over,’ said Stephen, who admits it became ‘obsessional – everything else was secondary’.
‘It wasn’t a race at the beginning, but, in the end, it became a race to show the world what the Irish could achieve.’ Laughing, he admitted: ‘It was a bloody-minded battle.’
The awards event was held, not just in Stephen’s honour, the association – the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame – gathered together more than 120 of the world’s best swimmers and honoured seven that night with the Hall of Fame award.
Stephen confirmed that it was actually Bastille Day – July 14th 2012 – when he clambered up the rock on the shore of Japan’s North Island and realised that he had achieved what no other person in the world had achieved.
But he said that the event in London was an opportunity to give due credit to everyone who helped him with that achievement.
‘It comes from the marrow,’ he said, ‘and the source is Skibbereen. The success spawned from here. And the honour is Skibbereen’s, West Cork’s. It was huge for everyone. I was just the swimmer.’