Joan Cashman, Image Consultant
Kate Crowley, Marketing Manager, Waterfront Festival Clonakilty
Martin Goggin, Munster Soul
JD Kelleher, Actor
Hannah Sheehan, Red Cross Volunteer of the year
Tabi Rose Esme, Chairperson Cork African Women’s Group
David Lohan, campaigner
Tom Cronin, Writer
Cork Profile - Gavin Deane
Since becoming the first person in the world to successfully complete the 7 Oceans challenge West Cork man Steve Redmond in July has barely stopped to draw breath.
He certainly has no intention of resting on his laurels and has a host of new challenges already planned, including an ambitious attempt to swim the Shannon without a wetsuit.
That will happen near the end of May, before the river gets too busy with river cruises and too dirty with diesel in the water. Steve thinks that it will take seven days of swimming for eight to ten hours to make it.
“There will be a lot of charities involved. The swim will be very tough but it should be do-able,” he says. He also revealed that he is using the river swim as the basis for another swim, which he cannot disclose as yet. He already has a litany of future projects.
“The Oceans 7 became my life. I haven’t had a drink in two or three years. I’m 47 and I may as well keep going as there are only a few years left in me.
“Maybe next year I’ll swim from Wales to Ireland. It’s all about pushing the boundaries.
“When you touch the ground, it all makes sense for a second.
“I only did it to show what is possible. Normally people swim one of the (seven) channels a lifetime. I’m working fulltime and have two kids,” he adds. But he did it all the same.
The response in Cork when he got back in July after completing the challenge blew him away.
“It was amazing. We didn’t realize how much it meant until we saw all the celebrations in West Cork. We were pretty humbled. There was such great interest in the area. It’s great to push anything in Cork.
His feet have certainly been kept on the ground. He tells how one of his friends recently rang him up and asked him if he would attend the opening of the gates of his shed!
Steve is still training twice a week with one open water session, “barely training at all”, according to the long distance swimmer! He is delighted that his kids are now training with him too.
He is hoping to do a swim from Baltimore to the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen for Co Action Skibbereen during the October Bank Holiday.
“I’m not a person to sit back and enjoy things unfortunately,” he says. “We kinda have to keep going.
He is also planning a 24 hour charity swim in the pool in the West Lodge Hotel in Bantry at the end of February for Cancer Connect. There will also be a swim in Baltimore too.
“These people all helped me so it’s nice to be able to do something for other people,” he says about his charity work.
One of his main motivations when swimming is to not let people down he says, particularly his support team in the boat with him. “”They’ve worked so hard so you can’t let them down and they won’t let me back on the boat!”
“Nobody really knows why we do it. You learn to relax and become the water. You can’t fight the water.”
When asked what makes a good long distance open water swimmer, Steve answers simply: stupidity! “A friend told me I was stupid so I would be a great long distance swimmer. Long distance swimming is not accepting that you’re good enough. Anyone can do it if they do enough training and get their heads right.” He also cites the ability to overcome problems as being crucial.
Steve is remarkable down to earth and matter of fact about what he has achieved. The explanation is simple: “The sea will beat any ego out of you”.
Follow Steve’s continuing adventures through his Facebook page: Steve Redmond’s - Oceans 7 Swim Challenge.
Name: Steve Redmond
Occupation: Manages Skibbereen Tool Hire
Favourite thing about Cork: I think we have the best water in Cork with the seas and places like Lough Hyne
Least favourite thing about Cork: There are too many potholes on roads which make it difficult to cycle.