Kevin Bids To Become Oldest Irishman To Swim English Channel

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Next week Kevin Williams will attempt to become the oldest Irish person to swim the English Channel.

Next week Kevin Williams will attempt to become the oldest Irish person to swim the English Channel.

A TRALEE man will attempt to become the oldest ever Irish person to swim the English Channel later this month and only the second Kerry person to complete it.

“I’m very confident about doing it. All the hard work has been done in preparation, so I’m looking forward to it,” said Kevin on Monday.

If the 54 year old Tralee Bay Swimming club member completes the monumental task, which he plans on doing on a day between September 13-22, he will enter into an elite group of swimmers called ‘The Half Century Club’.

This club consists of just less than 80 people in the world who have swam the Channel and are over 50 years of age.  He will become the oldest Irish person on that list.

Kevin has taken part in a Channel swim before when in 2011 he was part of a successful relay attempt. Six weeks later he was due to do it solo, but unfortunately the elements conspired against him and he forced to abandon the swim.

In 2012 another attempt at the English Channel had to be called off because of a shoulder injury he picked up. The English Channel is an extremely busy swim, competitors have to book a couple of years in advance to find a window of time they can attempt it in.

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“So much can go wrong during a swim, the weather is the biggest problem, the waters are very cold and tides can reap havoc as well,” Said Kevin.

With Kevin will be a crew of three in a boat alongside. Ann Condon and John O’Sullivan both from Tralee will be there to lend support. There will also be a person from England who will pilot the boat.

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Kevin Williams in action.

The Kerries native will begin his task at Dover. The swim is 32km as the crow flies, but can be increased to 44km if tides become an issue. He will hope to land victorious on the French beach of Cap Gris Nez 16 hours later.

When he reaches the beach, Kevin must come out of the water three metres to make it official and enter himself into the history books.

The pilot boat will then ferry him back across the Channel which will take around three hours.

“I don’t know will there be much celebrating on the boat back because I’ll be in a fairly poor state. It will all be about recovery,” said Kevin.

For sustenance during this swim, Kevin will drink a high-carb energy drink every half an hour. This will be thrown to him from the pilot boat which will run alongside him. At no point may he touch the boat.

Kevin has never swam a distance as far as this before, but has swam up to 28km in the past.

“There have been a few family members getting emotional already, but I just have to keep my eye on the prize and there can be plenty of time for getting emotional after,” said Kevin.



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