Long-distance Cork swimmer Karen O’Sullivan.

Record-breaking swim attempt in Cork Harbour

A daring Cork swimmer will attempt to become the first woman to swim the 27 kilometre circumference of Great Island, Cobh, on Saturday.

Karen O’Sullivan from Carrigtwohill will start her swim at 9am from Cuskinny with an aim to complete the gruelling challenge in under ten hours.

Karen, an experienced long-distance swimmer, is taking on the impressive feat to raise money and awareness for mental health services in Carrigtwohill Family Resource Centre (CFRC), services she said helped her through a difficult time a few years ago.

CFRC is a community-based organisation that provides counselling, psychotherapy, problem gambling support to adults and adolescents. The centre relies on donations and fundraising to sustain its services and reach more people in need.

Speaking in the lead-up to Saturday’s challenge, Karen said wanted to do something that would challenge her physically and mentally, while also supporting a cause that is close to her heart.

“Mental health is something that affects everyone, either directly or indirectly, and I think it is important to raise awareness and reduce stigma around it,” said Karen.

“CFRC is doing amazing work in helping people cope with their mental health issues and I hope that my swim will inspire others to support them as well,” she added.

Karen has been training for the swim for over a year with the help of her coach Eilis Burns, who is also an Irish and international long-distance swimmer. She has been swimming in the sea regularly, as well as in the pool and the gym. She has also been following a strict diet and hydration plan to prepare for the swim.

Karen is also mentored and supported by her fellow long-distance swimmers in Sandycove Island Swimming Club in Kinsale.

She said “The swim will not be easy, as there are many factors that can affect it, such as the weather, the tide, the water temperature, and the marine life. But I am determined to finish it and I hope that people will cheer me on along the way.

“I also hope that people will donate generously to CFRC through my online fundraising page or by contacting them directly.”

To support Karen’s swim and CFRC, visit gofundme.com and search 'Karen O’Sullivan', or contact CFRC at 021-4533000 or coordinator@carrigtwohillfrc.ie.