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Sunday, February 26, 2012

One More To Go ... Stephen Redmond Completes Molokai

Linda Kaiser reported that Stephen Redmond left Molokai Island at 6 pm on Saturday night and arrived on Oahu at 4:30 pm on Sunday, a victorious 22 hour 30 minute battle with the Molokai Channel.

It was tough going. During the first part of his channel challenge, Stephen enjoyed good conditions, covering 10 miles in less than 5 hours 30 minutes. But then he had to dig deep as the conditions deteriorated by mid-channel.

"I said a couple of prayers for protection and plunged into the channel. We made great headway for the first two hours covering around six miles [in the] warm and very salty water. We were swimming into the night. As darkness came on [so did] stars in the sky. The mermaids were singing (humpbacks whales). When my light caught the jellies and other sea creatures beneath me, it was like a scene from a Star Wars battle scene. You could not tell what was with you or what was near you."

Then the weather changed and his worst fears came for the same thing happened on his attempt last year. "I could sea the boat being flung from left to right. I have come to the conclusion that the Molokai does not like me."

Stephen admits that it was grim. "I do not normally want to know the time, but after a few hours in daylight I asked my skipper how we were doing. We had been in 13 hours [but] still had 8 miles to go. Molokai was exacting a huge demands from my body. Knowing my wife was waiting onshore and worrying was hard. You wonder why you do it stop and go that little bit further over the edge and discover the will to complete." And that he did.

He arrived on Oahu, clinging to China Walls after being battered up against it. "There was always huge doubt surrounding this swim," admitted Stephen. "I weighed up and discussed all the pro and cons with my Linda Kaiser in Hawaii, a legendary channel swimmer who has lived [in Hawaii] all her life. Arriving In Hawaii, the weather and my body being in bits after the Cook Strait swim put everything in doubt."

Before his swim, Stephen was a bundle of nerves. "After carbo-loading all day Friday, I felt terrible due to the combination of nerves and [wondering] if the weather hold. I was a wreck. I tried to rest on the short flight over to Molokai, but it was no good so just kept repeating the short mantra I would use during the swim."

Stuck between two big rocks in a very hard place, Stephen did what he does best. He put his head down and stuck to his plan. But the swells in the middle of the biggest body of water on the planet were a legitimate 8 feet high and the wind was gusting at 20 - 25 miles per hour.

As he got closer to Sandy Beach, the best place to finish and the straightest course point-to-point, Stephen simply could not battle to get across the 'Ledge'. That hurt big-time. Struggling mightily and weakened from his earlier Cook Strait swim, Stephen was not able to make any headway into the beach.

At a critical junction where success and failure were balanced on the razor-thin decision-making of his crew, Stephen was not getting out, but Mother Nature was seemingly not his ally. But his crew decided to just let him go with the prevailing current and watched helplessly as he was swept towards the Diamond Head volcano. Incredibly for those familiar with the lay of the land, Stephen was swept completely around Hanauma Bay and towards the southeastern shores of Oahu. "The waves were pounding the coast of Oahu too big for him to get in anywhere along Hanauma Bay," recalled Linda. If he would miss this last point, the next piece of land was the Kauai, impossibly hundreds of miles in the distance.

But Stephen is about to step into history for a reason: the Irish marathon swimmer kept his stroke up and continued against all odds. With Diamond Head within sight, Stephen finally struggled towards Maunalua Bay and grasped the dangerous ledge called China Walls (see above) where waves crash spectacularly against the boulders of the treacherous cliffs. Dozens of people, including Linda, witnessed the feat that was without parallel in the Molokai Channel.

Linda recalls, "With the waves at Hanauma, the goal was always China Walls. It was very calm around the point and in Maunalua Bay where he landed. I can see China Walls from my house, so when the boat asked what to do, we came up with the plan. It was up to Stephen to keep swimming. He is a very remarkable human and I know that quit is not in his vocabulary."

Stephen encountered sharks and whales in the channel. While he swam without a shark deterrent of any kind, the whales did swim under and around him, serenading him. With six of the seven channels completed in his Oceans Seven quest, Stephen is on the brink of history with only the Tsugaru Channel remaining.

Report courtesy of renowned Hawaiian Island channel swimmer Linda Kaiser.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

2 comments:

  1. Huge effort and my congratulations to Mr Redmond for a fantastic accomplishment. I know that channel and how tough it is to be in it for 22 hours. Amazing!!!! A huge athletic accomplishment!!!
    I also know about others who have swam this channel and about the rules of the Hawaiian Channel Swimming Association.
    Mr Redmond, there were lots of witnesses, many want to know if you stood up completely out of the water at both the start and finish of the swim? I paddled for swims that were not counted because the swimmer did not stand completely out of the water at the start or finish (Hawaii Channel Swimming Rules), so I know this is a big deal and it was not mentioned in any article I saw. Can we get some clarification here?
    Jeff Kozlovich

    ReplyDelete
  2. Koz, these rules are not specific to the HCSA, but are the basic, long-held rules of marathon swiming. One exception to the specific rule you mention would be if there is no dry land available to stand on, e.g., a sheer cliff, which is not the case on Molokai. It is the swimmer's responsibility to know and follow the rules. It is hard to imagine the swimmer you allude to was not aware of the basic rules of marathon swimming.

    On a separate but related issue, does the HCSA not send official observers on the boat for such swim attempts, to ensure the rules are followed? If not, perhaps they should.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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