Back in August 2015, Ger Kennedy attempted to swim halfway from UK waters to Dublin, primarily to learn more about his ultimate goal: a 100 km solo stage swim from Holyhead in Wales to Dublin, Ireland across the Irish Sea.
His goal is to average 6-8 hours swimming per day in the water expected to be 12-13ºC (53-55ºF).
Kennedy talked about his first foray in the Irish Sea.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How far did you end up swimming?
Ger Kennedy: I swam approximately 12 km.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How many hours were you in the water?
Ger Kennedy: 3 hours 10 minutes.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How were the conditions?
Ger Kennedy: There were very poor with a sloppy sea, fog and no visibility. It was a huge mental game of flight or fight.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Who was your escort pilot and crew?
Ger Kennedy: My pilot was my father on a yacht with 2 sailing friends, backed up by partner Alice and friend Edel. There was a support rib with Barry O Connor and Allen Evans.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How was the cold?
Ger Kennedy: The water was fine as well I was acclimatised to the sea temperature of 11.7ºC. My greatest fear was myself. Due to the vast open sea with no sense of direction, I really felt isolated from the start and really struggled to swim. I called the swim to stop.
Ger Kennedy: There was a relay success in August 1993 by Mike Kelly, Feilim O’Maolain, Gerry Carroll, Dave Kilmartin, Shay Dillon, and Les Nolan on their third attempt (see below). The Irish Sea Relay Swim or the Stena Sealink Challenge swam from Holyhead in Wales to Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland in 29 hours 59 minutes.
Some of those swimmers are supporting me 23 years after their relay.
O’Maolain also attempted a solo swim in 2005 [see below], but I really chose this route for many reasons. I consider it my backyard as I live beside the Irish Sea. I put in endless distance in training, and I received lots of support from swimmers and my crew with experienced sailors. Plus, based on the capabilities of endurance swimmers, someone is going to try this and who better to accomplish it first than an Irish man or woman.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What did you learn from your first attempt?
Ger Kennedy: I learned a huge amount. In time after the first attempt, a non-stop solo attempt conducted under English Channel rules would not be possible for me and team.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What will you do differently this next attempt?
Ger Kennedy: My second attempt will be in a solo unassisted stage swim.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your estimated time to finish if everything goes well?
Ger Kennedy: Approximately 40 hours.
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