Belfast Telegraph

Derry swimmer George Meenan tames the mighty Hudson in New York as he completes 28.5-mile challenge

By Brendan McDaid

It's famous for skyscrapers, designer stores and global landmarks like the Empire State Building and Wall Street.

But do you know how long it takes to swim around Manhattan?

One man from Northern Ireland does, having just completed the 28.5 mile gruelling marathon around New York City’s famous borough.

Derry City Council worker George Meenan was one of only 38 swimmers from around the world to plunge into the Hudson River in what was just the latest endurance event which he has taken on.

The 40-year-old’s time for his latest challenge was eight hours and 39 minutes.

The building control officer is no stranger to choppy waters. He previously swam in a relay of the English Channel and the 16.5 miles of Lake Zurich in Switzerland.

Speaking from Philadelphia after the challenge, he said: “I did have a brilliant time, but I must say I’m glad it’s over now.

“You never really get comfortable doing these events, but you know what to expect and so you know how to get through it.”

George said the New York heat was hard to handle.

“Each race brings its own set of unique challenges — for example this time it was the heat and, ironically, the risk of dehydration,” he said.

“You have to keep refuelling as you swim, and there’s a support boat that supplies each swimmer with energy drinks every half-hour.”

Comparing his latest success to previous swimming challenges already under his belt, George said: “I also did Lake Zurich which was fresh water — certainly fresher than the Hudson anyway.

“I also did the English Channel Relay last year for charity, but this event was a personal challenge — one on the bucket list, you could say.

“So I’m delighted to have crossed it off the list.”

Not content to take a well-earned break, George will be doing a few 10k races around Ireland over the rest of the summer.

“Nothing too adventurous,” he added. “That was the big one.”

Congratulating George on his achievement, Derry’s mayor Kevin Campbell said that he was an inspiration.

“It really is an amazing personal achievement to complete such a feat of physical endurance, and George is a great inspiration to anyone thinking of taking on any sporting challenge,” he said.

“After we welcomed home our Clipper crew at the weekend, and in the wake of the Olympic Torch celebrations, it’s a great time to recognise and celebrate the achievements of some of Derry’s remarkable and inspirational individuals.

“They continue to do the city proud.”

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