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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Clodagh beats tough winds and jellyfish stings in epic Channel swim

Published 26/08/2016 | 02:30

Clodagh Murray swam across the English channel in 10 hours and 51 minutes on August 14 Photo: Colin Gillen/framelight.ie
Clodagh Murray swam across the English channel in 10 hours and 51 minutes on August 14 Photo: Colin Gillen/framelight.ie

After an agonising week-long wait for the weather to let up, a trainee doctor has made history as the second fastest woman to swim the English Channel.

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Clodagh Murray, a pharmacist who is completing her final year at Trinity College, made the solo crossing in 10 hours and 51 minutes on August 14, just one hour and 11 minutes behind Irish record-holder Rachel Lee.

Clodagh is now the second fastest woman to swim the English Channel Photo: Colin Gillen/framelight.ie
Clodagh is now the second fastest woman to swim the English Channel Photo: Colin Gillen/framelight.ie

But after spending a week in Dover waiting for weather conditions to improve, she had to scramble at the last minute before setting out on the 34km crossing.

"I had to meet the pilot and crew at 5am, which meant getting up at 3.30am. I hardly slept as I was so nervous - and excited. The waiting was one of the most gruelling aspects of the entire endeavour," said the Trinity Scholar from Sligo.

"It's what also makes it so different to other sporting challenges as there is no start time or date," she said.

"It is all down to mother nature so you need to be ready to peak when the weather gods decide to play ball.

"If I didn't get a break in the weather, I would have been told to come back next year," she added.

Even then, force three and four winds and jellyfish threw up more challenges for the yoga and meditation enthusiast.

"The one thing I wasn't prepared for was the number of jellyfish and I got my first sting after about three hours. Because I was so cold and a bit numb, the stings were almost a distraction from the weather conditions.

"You're swimming into them, telling yourself to put your head down and get on with it," Clodagh said.

Irish Independent

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