Belfast Telegraph

Creating splash... Colleen makes history after North Channel swim

By Rebecca Black

Meet the incredible south Armagh woman who yesterday swam her way into the record books.

Irish champion distance swimmer Colleen Mallon from the Co Armagh village of Camlough is well used to challenges, having swum Rottnest in Perth, Australia, and Lake Windermere in England. Now she has taken it a step further by becoming the first woman from Northern Ireland to swim the North Channel.

Her marathon swim started in Donaghadee and took an exhausting nine hours and 56 minutes before arriving in Scotland to cheers from her supporters.

Colleen not only completed the challenging swim, but has become one of the fastest women ever to do it. She finished just 21 minutes off the record time, which was set last year by Michelle Macy from the USA.

The North Channel is a notoriously difficult body of water to conquer — and is considered to be a major challenge to even the best swimmers.

Not only is it a long distance swim by most people’s standards — 34.5 km (21.4 miles) — but it is also known for quickly changing weather, rough seas and dangerous currents, not to mention schools of jellyfish.

Englishman Tom Blower became the first to conquer the stretch in 1947, and no one else tried it again until Kevin Murphy in 1970. One of the most recent successful attempts was completed by Australian Guy Moar last month.

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