Over the last few years, Stephen Redmond took on seven of the world’s mightiest channels. He took the responsibility of asking people for money to support his dream of achieving the Oceans Seven. His solitary task then took on local, national, and international implications.

But Redmond had to shoulder that heavy load, obligations, and responsibilities until he ultimately completed the task. His friends and fans followed, supported, and prayed for him, but the Oceans Seven was his lonely, difficult burden to bear alone. Every stroke, every mile, every channel was a chore that had to get done. “Failure is not an option. I cannot go home without success,” he repeatedly told himself and his crew on his final assault on the last swim of the Oceans Seven, the Tsugaru Channel.

But in Japan, there was one more obstacle that he had not entered in his Oceans Seven equation: nutrition.

Sitting in a comfortable inn at the very tip of Honshu Island in Japan, Redmond was treated to the finest meals that the lady of the house could prepare: sea urchins, stewed seaweed, raw squid, fish eggs, fresh octopus, and myriad delectable dishes created out of the marine life in the Tsugaru Channel. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Redmond was faced with small, carefully designed dishes of things that he not only had never seen before, but he had also never considered as an edible source of energy.

I existed on loads of white bread and cheese,” he recalled. Day after day, the loaf of bread was the meal of choice for Redmond’s three square meals a today. The consistency of his choice, the plainness of his fuel was something to observe. But his focus and sense of obligation to all those who supported him gave him a strength to overcome. He was a man possessed with paying back those who helped him.

To see such a man never wilt in the face of such huge obstacles will forever be implanted in my mind,” said Steven Munatones (shown above with Redmond at the WOWSA Awards during the 2013 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Cork, Ireland. “Like a samurai in battle, he thought not of himself, his wounds, or the odds of success, but he never took his eye off his goal and literally willed his way to achieved the Oceans Seven.

His success that was recognized by many more than his fellow countrymen was the reason Redmond won a WOWSA Award as the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

He is fundamentally characteristic of the Irish open water swimming community: beautiful on the outside and rock solid on the inside. Redmond enjoys his challenge; he does not shy away from them. There are no shortcuts, just a drive that pushes forward come hell or high water. He steps up his focus when necessary; and smiles constantly as a sign that all his sacrifice and commitment are well worth the effort.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association