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Channel Hopper

A Kerryman swam the English Channel yesterday

That’s a lot of swimming.

Updated at 9.30pm

A KERRY ENTREPRENEUR has become just the 51st Irish person – and the second man from the Kingdom – to swim the English Channel.

Glenbeigh-based Kristian O’Donovan swam from Dover in England to Cap Gris-Nez in France in 13 hours and 48 minutes, reaching land after midnight local time.

O’Donovan took the water yesterday shortly after 9am from Dover, Kent, around four hours before high tide. However, swimmers still have to go the long way around the Channel.

Even though the distance between Dover to Cap Gris-Nez is over 20 miles; given the strong channel currents and powerful spring tides, the swim route follows an S-curve, meaning the overall distance to swim was closer to 30 miles.

PastedImage-55748 Kristian's route. Kristian O'Donovan Kristian O'Donovan

Kristian grew up swimming competitively in Tralee and worked as a lifeguard in Ballybunion. Most recently, he volunteered as head coach with Killarney Swimming Club,

He began training for the swim in August last year, saying that he wanted to see how far he could push himself. He trained on his own for months, putting in hard miles in the Tralee Sports and Leisure Centre, before moving to the sea.

PastedImage-22254 Kristian and his support crew shortly before he commenced his swim [From left: Kevin Griffin, Thomas Goulding, Kristian O’Donovan, Zara Bullen, Tomás Finneran, Micheál Griffin, Sheila Griffin]

Only around 40% of those who attempt the swim actually complete it, making O’Donovan’s feat special in its own right, but he has another reason for being proud of his achievement.

“This is my All-Ireland medal.

My real inspiration is my brother-in-law Cathal, who has Down Syndrome, and had to overcome many obstacles, he’s the bravest swimmer I know.

However, with the swim done, Kristian is getting back to his business, running Pitman Training classes in Tralee.

““It’s back to the office now, there’s plenty of work to catch-up on.”

Read: There are four Russian warships in the English Channel, but it’s all grand

Read: Watch: English cliff falls into the sea during rough weather

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