North Channel Swim Report


Club member Kieran Fitzgerald recently formed part of the support crew for Annemarie Ward's successful north channel swim. This invovles swimming from Ireland to Scotland and is as daunting as it sounds with only 10 crossings to date. It's rated as more difficult than the English Channel which puts it into perpective, it really is a massive achievement reported in the national press and further. The main challenges are the low water temperature, currrents and jellyfish which can be found in massive numbers in those waters. Swimmers cannot wear wetsuits and rely on grease (goose fat i think) to provide some insulation.

Thanks to Kieran for providing this insight for the blog.

"7.20 am-Met with Annemarie and her team in the Clarion Hotel in Carrickfergus and had some breakfast.

7.50am-Made our way down to the harbour and started loading gear and supplies on to the ‘lucky lizzy’ the main boat and the two ribs.

8.10am- Left Carrickfergus harbour on route to’ The Gobbins’, north of Belfast Lough. The crew and boats for the swim consisted of

RIB 1 Ryan Ward and Noel Brennan.

RIB2 Derek Flanagan and Joseph Devenney.

‘Lucky Lizzy’ Gus O Driscoll, Ivan Irwin, Brendan Proctor and myself.

Sea conditions ideal, not a ripple to be seen! Water 12.9 degrees. Sky a bit misty, air temp. 12 degrees at a guess.

Annemarie starts to grease up.

8.25am-Arrive at ‘The Gobbins ’ .The good news is there are no jellies to be seen!!

8.30am- Annemarie crosses to Rib 2 which will take her to the rocks where she will start.

8.34am- Annemarie enters the water and swims approx. 15 meters to shore

8.36-Annmarie touches the shoreline and waves, THE SWIM BEGINS!!!!!!!!

9.00am-Stroke rate 62

9.35am-1st feed , 2 and a half scoops of ‘High Five’ to 500ml of water, all well!!

9.45am-stroke rate 63

10.35am-2nd feed, all ok .Conditions very still, but no sun yet. Full six hours of tide with Annemarie starting.

11-00am- Stroke rate 63.

11.35am- feed, 7km covered from shore.

12.05pm-stroke rate 64.

12.35pm-feed. Mouth wash this time also.9.25km covered. Sun comes out!

12.48pm-stroke rate 63.

1.37pm-feed, all well. A few jellies around!

1.55pm- 62 stroke rate.

2.35pm-feed Annemarie in good form, crew inform her that all is going to plan

3.00pm-stroke rate 62

3.36pm-feed, with mouth wash. Annemarie fine.

4.00pm-stroke rate 63, water temp 13.3degrees, slight south easterly wind.

4.38pm-feed, Tide starts to turn against Annemarie

4.46pm-Gus informs me that 11.76 nautical miles from shore,8.24 nautical miles to go!!

5.16pm- 62 strokes per minute.


5.53pm-stroke rate 63

5.58pm-Annemarie ups stroke rate to 68!!!!!


6.58pm-stroke rate 68!!!

7.35pm-feed. Crew ask Annemarie to slow stroke rate!!!!Brendan asks Annemarie to leave ‘some in the tank for later’. Starting to drift north of Portpatrick, due to tide.

8.35pm-feedwith mouth wash. Getting dark Noel enters the water to put two light sticks on Annemarie. Derek put two light sticks on side of rib. Annemarie asks to change feeds to every 45 minutes. Worst of strong tide against Annemarie over Still 5.3 nautical miles to go.

9.20pm-All ok 4.6nm to go, starting to make progress.

9.58pm- Batch of jellies some big, Ryan acts as lookout with whistle.

10.12pm- feed. 3.58 nm to go. Brendan Proctor makes us some welcome soup!!

10.55pm-feed. Told Annemarie only 3nm to go.

11.00pm- Stroke rate goes up 66 strokes per minute.

11.40pm- feed. 2.6nm to go. Stroke rate 62.

12.25am- feed 2nm to go, Annemarie in good form. Stroke rate 62.

1.10am- feed, a few jellies around!1.3nm to go.

1.40am- feed.

2.13am-last feed, .75nm to go!!!!! 60 strokes per minute.

2.53am- Another feed, .4 nm to go, talking a little longer than expected.

3.00am- Ryan, brother of Annemarie enters water with light stick attached, not long now!

3.30am-Nearly there , approx. 100m to go. Beam lights are shining to guide Annemarie and Ryan.

3.36am-Annemarie finally clears water and waves to the boat. THE SWIM IS OVER!!!!ANNEMARIE NOW JOINS ONE OF THE WORLDS MOST EXCLUSIVE CLUBS.

3.42am-A delighted Annemarie, is helped firstly onto a rib and then onto the Lucky Lizzy’, for the journey back to Carrickfergus.

Job completed time 18hrs59min26 sec. one heck of a swim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!