On Wednesday, August 24 I had a successful solo swim of the grueling 21 mile North Channel between Ireland and Scotland in a time of 14 hours and 22 minutes. Setting a new world record for the Oldest Woman to successfully swim across the channel. On the day of my swim I was 65 years and 204 days old. The North Channel widely known as the most challenging swim in the world. Mother Nature was kind and gave calm conditions. Water temp averaged 55 degrees Fahrenheit, 13 degrees Celsius. My boat pilot said that I actually swam 26 miles due to strong currents. With calm conditions, Lion Mane jellyfish rise to the surface. I was stung over every inch of my body. At one point during my swim, a jellyfish with a dome the size of a dinner plate, lodge onto my goggles. I was viewing the underside of its dome with its tentacle wrapped on my face. I shook my head with hopes of it falling off....it did not. I had to pry it's dome off my goggles and face. My skin was inflamed by the stings but the cold water help soothe my skin. It was a unique experience! Ha! Ha!
Prior to my swim I had my son write on my arm the name of my brother Robbie who died of a heart attack at the age of 34 and my brother Johnny who died at the age of 17. I thought of them during my swim.
I became only the 41st person in history to have a successful channel crossing of this unforgiving channel. For a successful crossing, it takes a pilot like Quinton Nelson with great navigational skills to find the best route and tides for the swimmer. Quinton thank you. Also, having a crew knowledgeable about marathon swimming is vital. My son Tom did an incredible job. He knew exactly what needed to be done. Many thanks to my son Tom. Fergal Somerville another crew member was amazing. He went well beyond the scope of a crew member. At the end of my swim, he jumped into the water to film me touching Scotland. I can't thank him enough. Also. I would like to thank Molly the official for the Irish Long Distance Swim Association. She was fantastic. My crew at home was a huge help. My daughter Sarah placed postings on Facebook and my blog. Also, she sent several photos of family members to Fergal. Fergal had contacted Sarah earlier in the week for family photos. He enlarged the photos and laminated each one. Each hour of my swim my crew would attach a photo to the railing on the boat. It was wonderful to see all the photos. Thank you. My husband Jim has been a huge support for all my marathon swims. I can't thank him enough. He's the best! I want to thank my extended family members especially my brother David and sister-in-law Jeannie for helping to crew for other swims. I want to thank everyone who posted words of encouragement and support on Facebook and my blog. I want to thank Jackie Cobell's for inspiring me to continue with my swim no matter how long it would take. Jackie has the world record for longest time of 28 hours to swim across the English Channel. Also, a special thank you to Sal Minty Gravett for giving me advise on taking a prescription anti-nausea medication. It was a tremendous help. Also, I want to thank Dr. Gregory Sawyer of Maine Medical Partners, who performed right shoulder surgery last September. It was a success! I have no shoulder issues. Thank you. And thank you to David Knop, P.T. (and his team) at Livevital P.T. and Performance in Portland, for helping me in the first crucial months after my surgery. Thank you to swim instructor Patti Drew of Casco Bay YMCA. She was instrumental in correcting my many flaws in my freestyle. Lastly I want to thank everyone for posting words of encouragement and support on Facebook and my blog....it is greatly appreciated. Thank you.