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Swimming from Rathlin to Ballycastle for the RNLI

31st August 2010
Swimming from Rathlin to Ballycastle for the RNLI
Gary Knox describes himself as a good pool swimmer so why is he swimming from Rathlin to Ballycastle next weekend (weather permitting).....It's all for the RNLI of course. Gary is so impressed by the volunteer commitment of the crews he decided to do the swim to raise funds for the Lifeboats.
Gary explained further 'The swim is from Rathlin to Ballycastle and is planned for the weekend of 4-5 September. I won't be wearing a wetsuit and the swim is approximately 7 miles. Water temperature will be approx. 12 degrees and the challenge isn't so much the distance as the large number of Lions Mane jellyfish which lie between Rathlin and Ballycastle and the very strong and treacherous currents which swirl around the island. I am doing the swim for RNLI in memory of my friend and training partner, Ciaran McGinn who completed the endurance swim in 2007 and raised funds for his charity, Ballycastle RNLI. Training has gone well and I've done a 15K open water swim, Portrush to Portstewart two-way and a swim from Ballycastle to Fairhead in preparation for the event. I've been stung by the jellies and got my body used to the chilly waters. The swim to Fairhead last weekend opened my eyes to the strong currents when I made no progress for 90 mins on way back to Ballycastle and had to jump out onto road and hitch a lift back into town! Hopefully the tides will be kinder to me on day of swim. I'll be accompanied by Portrush kayaker Andrew Bingham who will follow the rib and provide me with an energy drink every hour. In accordance with ILDSA rules, at no time will I be permitted to touch the boat or kayak. Donations can be made online at and there are collection boxes in the shops along the prom in Ballycastle. In the event of bad weather, swim will be rescheduled for mid Sept or October. The swim has a low success rate and is very dependent on conditions and tides on the day'
Gary who is a French teacher, 38, and swimming coach at CAI who took up sea swimming in 2008 and lives in Aghadowey. On Sunday he came down to meet the crew and tell them about the swim.
Judy Barr Lifeboat Press Officer said,
This is an amazing feat for anyone to attempt and we are delighted that Gary is raising funds for our volunteer crews and the Station who depends on donations to keep our two boats available for rescues at sea.'
Published in Sea Swim Team

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