15th December 2012
First Clare Person To Swim English Channel – now completes the Catalina Channel
FIONNUALA WALSH – AWARDED FEMALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR 2012 BY ILDSA and RECEIVES JLDSC Award
West Clare Triathlon Club member Fionnuala Walsh becomes the first Clare person to successfully swim the English Channel on 9th October 2012. And then goes on to swim the Catalina Channel on 29th September 2013.
Fionnuala completed the 21 mile epic fundraising swim from Dover, England to Calais, France in a time of 15 hours and 26 minutes.
As one club member remarked “I couldn’t sleep for 15 hours and 26 minutes!”
Yes, our determined Fionnuala showed amazing courage after her original attempt to complete the Channel Swim in August 2012 had to be abandoned just 200 metres from the French coast due to thick fog.
Then to top off a rollercoaster year for Fionnuala she was awarded the Female Swimmer of the Year 2012 by the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association at an awards ceremony in Cork on 24th November 2012. Maith an cailin, Fionnuala!
In a further accolade, at the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation annual awards dinner in Dover, UK on 2nd March 2013, Fionnuala was also awarded the JLDSC Award for ‘most successful swim against all odds‘. In front of 257 people made up of family, friends and fellow channel swimmers Fionnuala was silenced (not an easy task) by the standing ovation she received from the appreciative crowd.
Nothing great is easy.
But no, the challenges don’t end there – on 29th September 2013 while County Clare celebrated the All Ireland hurling victory against Cork, Fionnuala was completing the challenging 21 mile Catalina Channel swim from Catalina to Palos Verdes in California. This swim took Fionnuala a remarkable 10 hours and 43 minutes! As far as we are aware, Fionnuala is the 1st Irish woman to complete this swim and the 4th Irish person. For more information on this historic swim (official records commenced in 1927) visit swimcatalina.com