Steve Redmond recently attempted to swim 38km from Baltimore pier to Mizen head via Cape Clear and the Fastnet.

Unstoppable Steve Redmond

When managing a plant hire, chairing a basketball team, and releasing a book all gets too much, why not try adding gruelling hours of open water swimming to relax?

If that sounds like insanity, then you haven’t met Steve Redmond.

Steve Redmond from Ballydehob is an open ocean swimmer on top of everything else in his busy schedule. Two weeks ago was his most recent swim where he attempted the 38km from Baltimore pier to Mizen head via Cape Clear and the Fastnet. Unfortunately, after 15 hours in the water, Steve was unable to complete the record-breaking swim, only a few kilometres short of Mizen head.

The 57 year old is well known for taking on such mind-blowing water expeditions as in 2011 he became the first to complete the oceans 7 challenge which is considered the equivalent of climbing the 7 summits.

Steve said his love for swimming came from his childhood living in England.

“It was a thing in England in the ‘70s, watching 'Blue Peter' and seeing these guys swimming the English Channel and got this idea in my head that I would be the youngest to do it, because that’s all I did as a child, I swam 6 days a week. I had 3 pools really close to me just down the road, and that’s where my love of swimming came from.”

Wondering how someone came up with the crazy notion of swimming all 7 of the world’s major ocean channels, Steve’s heart-breaking answer, was loss.

After completing the English Channel, 1 of Steve’s close friends was tracking his swim the entire time. 6 weeks later, his friend unfortunately passed away from testicular cancer.

Steve’s friend was well known for his health and fitness, so Steve decided the best way to honour his friend’s life, was to finish what he had already started.

“After completing the North Channel (between Ireland and Scotland), I got an email from a buddy of mine in America who said, ‘well since you have the two hard ones done, why don’t you try the other five?’ At the time I had no idea what he was talking about, but I quickly caught on to the idea.

“Having the North Channel done was a real advantage, I was the second person to complete it on the first try.”

His journey of the oceans 7 challenge started in 2009 and he finished in 2011, all the while raising money for the Irish Cancer Society.

His most recent swim from Baltimore to Mizen Head was in aid of Marymount Cork and Steve has raised nearly €8,000 for the cause. Although he seems to be doing so much for charity, Steve isn’t quite so sure of it.

“I wouldn’t do a whole lot of donations as it kind of puts an anchor around your neck. Because you’re trying to focus on training and then you have all these people who know about your swim and if you fail badly you look like a complete idiot!”

But since his most recent swim, he seems to be warming to the idea, as Marymount was chosen to honour the sister of Steve’s friend and skipper, Kieran Collins. Collins’ sister passed away there, so the cause is very close to the whole team.

“I use these, what I call guilt hooks for myself, I owe all these people and I can’t afford to let them down. And now I owe about 4,000 people for my next swim because they all donated!”

Much to the terror of some of Steve’s family members, the unfinished business he has with his recent swim, might just surface very soon. He joked about his wife being terrified every time he takes to the water.

“My wife absolutely blanks me and the idea of going again, she always says ‘no way, it’s not happening again. I hate this, I hate the open water, I hate you, I’m going to kill you.

“But on the Saturday night after the swim, I was up at 3am thinking I must go again. After completing 15 hours of the swim, it’s in my bones, it’s in my body and I just have to try again.”

As frightening as it is for everyone including Steve, he simply can’t get enough. “I try to look at it like I can’t do enough, I can never help people enough. If I could get another shot at this swim and finish it, it would be really great for Marymount, and I might be able to get some sleep.”

So now is not the time to forget about Steve Redmond because he is far from finished. Keep checking your weather apps and pray for swimmable weather for Steve. If it comes, we could be watching his second attempt as soon as the week after next!