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Ice Diver and Ice and Open Water Swimmers Among Outsider Award Nominees

20th February 2024
Paddy Conaghan (82) swam in every port and beach along Ireland’s coast this year
Paddy Conaghan (82) swam in every port and beach along Ireland’s coast this year

Jessika Robson (17) who became the youngest person to swim the North Channel, is one of a number of marine-related nominations for the annual Outsider magazine awards due to be presented this week (Wed 21).

The Northern Irish teenager set a new world record as she endured jellyfish stings and choppy waters to complete the 41km crossing from Donaghadee, Co Down to Portpatrick in Scotland.

Robson swam for a total of 11 hours and 46 minutes without stopping.

Jessika Robson (17) became the youngest person to swim the North ChannelJessika Robson (17) became the youngest person to swim the North Channel

Also nominated is Brianna Jackson (39), a member of Sandycove Swimming Club in Dublin.

Jackson took up sea swimming during the pandemic as “a form of release from the stress of raising three month old twins and a two year old”.

Initially, she says she was only able to doggy paddle and taught herself how to swim properly.

Two years later, Brianna Jackson has represented Ireland in the World Ice Swimming Championships. Last year, she completed an impressive eight marathon swims.

She was the first woman to complete swims from Howth to Bray, Kish to Lambay island, and Lambay to Rockabill lighthouse in the Irish Sea.

She has also completed Fastnet lighthouse to Baltimore in West Cork, and the Galway Bay Blackrock Tower to Aughinish crossing, achieving two-thirds of the Irish Triple Crown for open water swimming.

Paddy Conaghan (82) swam in every port and beach along Ireland’s coast this year, raising over €100,000 for a counselling charity in Dungloe, called Gemma’s Legacy of Hope.

From the age of 17 to 80, Paddy – from Arranmore Island in County Donegal – didn’t swim at all. In 2021, he undertook a swim challenge for charity, starting and finishing in Arranmore, and raised more than €104,000.

He was recently named man of the year by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA), a north American organisation that recognises the achievements of open water swimmers from around the world. WOSA also selected Cork Distance Week, a marathon swimming preparation camp designed and led by international marathon swimmer Ned Denison, as service or product of the year.

Claire Ryan (44) is an Outsider award nominee for completing a 60m dive under ice.

“The excitement of the task mixed with the endorphin rush from the exposure to the cold water was a heady mixture and I imagine I will be chasing that feeling in the future,” she says.

Other adventure sport nominees include Ellie Berry (29) who set a new speed record for climbing every mountain in Ireland. Ellie, spent her summer solo-climbing all 275 mountains on the Vandeleur-Lynams list – as in mountains over 600 metres high with a prominence of 15m.

Ian O’Brien (43) responded to his Parkinson’s diagnosis with an astounding feat of physical strength, endurance, and tenacity by scaling 28 of Europe’s highest peaks in 28 days, raising over €90k for charity.

Eamonn Keaveney (31) rode the length of Ireland on a unicycle in just six days.

Eamonn – from Claremorris, Co Mayo – has been raising money for suicide prevention charities since 2016, when he walked around Ireland barefoot and set a world record. He followed that up in 2018 by climbing 10 Irish mountains, also barefoot.

Collette O’Hagan (74), from Dundalk, Co Louth, completed her 900th marathon last year. She is also a big advocate of fostering and has fostered over 80 children in the course of her life.

The ninth annual awards are sponsored by Sport Ireland, and will be announced on Wednesday, February 21st, in the Sugar Club, Dublin.

Full details of categories are here

Published in Sea Swim Team

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