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WARM-UP OPEN WATER NEWS CHANNEL PUB CLOSES


A pub that is famous among Channel swimmers faces an uncertain future, having closed its doors to the public. The White Horse is


traditionally where successful Channel swimmers go post-swim, to sign their name on the wall, along with their time. The pub is seen as an important part of Channel swimming history, as well as providing a fascinating piece of social history. It is reported that the pub is “between landlords”, and the hope is it will again reopen to swimmers and locals alike.


LIMBLESS MAN’S BERING JOY


A Frenchman who lost all his limbs in an electrocution accident has swum the Bering Strait, so achieving his aim to ‘link’ all fi ve continents with a series of swims. Using tailor-made fl ippers from Aqua Sphere, Philippe Croizon, 44. swam the 4.3km stretch of frigid water in 1 hour and 20 minutes, crossing between the US island of Lit le Diomede and Great Diomede, in Russia, thus ‘joining’ Asia and the Americas. “This was the hardest swim of my life,” he told AFP news agency. “But we made it.” Since May, he has swum between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia (Oceania with Asia), across the shark-infested Red Sea (Africa to Asia) and across the Strait of Gibraltar (Europe and Africa). Croizon suff ered his accident in 1994, when a power cable discharged through a metal ladder on which he was standing.


SOUTTER PIONEERS NEW NORTH CHANNEL ROUTE 


The North Channel between Ireland and Scotland is considered one of the toughest on the long- distance swimmer’s bucket list. Cold water, vicious jellyfi sh, fi ckle weather and strong currents conspire to thwart some of the best in the business. Perceived wisdom has long held that the massive tidal fl ows between the Mull of Kintyre and County Antrim – the narrowest point (12 miles, or 20km) between the two countries – would prevent any meaningful at empt at a crossing in that location. In fact, the legendary marathon swimmer Mercedes Gleitze tried, and failed, three times in 1928. Consequently, ever since


Tom Blower’s fi rst successful crossing in 1947, the conventional route has been further south, between the Mull of Galloway and County Down, a considerably further swim (18.5 miles) but one with more manageable currents. But aſt er completing an epic 20-hour bat le with the English Channel, South African Wayne


Sout er decided he needed to do a swim that nobody else had done. He found very few that hadn’t been tackled by Alison Streeter and other famous swimmers. Sout er began to question whether the Mull of Kintyre to County Antrim route was truly impossible, and started to research the notorious tides. Eventually, he secured a licence to use some advanced tidal mapping soſt ware from the National Oceanic Commission and began plot ing routes. He calculated that by starting from Mull of Kintyre at the right time on a neap tide he could reach Ireland in around eight hours. The next challenge was


to fi nd a boat and a pilot to accompany him. Aſt er much fruitless searching a stroke of luck put him contact with Sean McCarry, who heads up Community Rescue Services, an Irish sea rescue charity, who agreed to provide a boat. In return, Sout er raised funds for CRS. He then assembled a team of supporters to feed and keep him motivated, and to navigate


COLD, TIRED AND BATTERED, SOUTTER EVENTUALLYTOUCHED IRISH SOIL AT KINBANE HEAD


the treacherous channel. On 27 August, in what


Philippe Croizon


Wayne Sout er, on his way to becoming the fi rst person to swim the North Channel between the Mull of Kintyre and Antrim


12


looked like perfect weather conditions, Sout er set off from Scotland. From his perspective, everything was going well. The water was calm and the sun warmed his back. He didn’t know however that the calculations were a lit le out, and while he was swimming happily the tidal currents were not taking him where they should have been. Sout er soon had jellyfi sh to contend with. At fi rst he tried to dodge and swim around them but his boat crew yelled that he was wasting too much time so he had grit his teeth and swim through them, collecting multiple stings in the process. The weather deteriorated and he had to bat le six-foot waves. The cold began to get to him and he was almost ready to quit but his crew told him he was just a mile off shore and to swim faster. Swim faster he did, but those notorious currents were now pushing him north, and as the coastline turned to the west Sout er could get no closer. That initial miscalculation was now costing the team dearly. The currents became confused, and on several occasions, where diff erent streams met, Sout er and his support boats struggled to hold a course. It grew dark and the team decided to skip the feed stops, as every time Sout er paused to eat he quickly driſt ed further from the shore. Only four hours later did the currents begin to ease and allow the swimmer to make his fi nal approach. Cold, tired and bat ered, Sout er eventually touched Irish soil at Kinbane Head, 12 hours and 15 minutes aſt er set ing off . He then returned to Ballycastle for a hero’s welcome and an all-night party.


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