Cork swimmer Karen O’Sullivan with her supporters before starting her record attempt.

New Cork record will take some beating!

Huge congratulations are in order for a Cork swimmer who has become the first woman to swim the 28.7km circumference of Great Island, Cobh.

Not only did Karen O’Sullivan make history, she did it almost an hour faster than the ten hour target she had set herself, coming in at 09:08:06 hours.

Karen, an experienced long-distance swimmer, took on the challenge 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.

She started her swim at 7.38am on Saturday from Cuskinny in ideal conditions.

However, as conditions deteriorated during the day, she was faced with bad weather, a turning tide, and cold water temperatures.

Karen was blown onto the rocks at East Ferry but, in a display of incredible mental fortitude, she kept going.

She was supported throughout her marathon attempt by friends and family, with her dad crewing the safety boat and several kayakers looking out for her throughout the day.

Many of her fellow swimmers from Sandycove Island Swimming Club in Kinsale were there as well as board members and staff of CFRC to cheer her on throughout the day from various vantage points.

She finished her swim at 4.47pm to the cheers and applause of the spectators and supporters.

Karen said she was inspired to take on this challenge by her own experience with mental health issues, and the help she received from CFRC.

She said she wanted to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health, and to support the amazing work that CFRC is doing in helping people cope with their mental health issues.

She also said she hoped that her swim would inspire others to challenge themselves physically and mentally, and to support CFRC as well.