fill us with pride
Irishman Steve Redmond became the first person to swim all seven major channels of the world's oceans. He began in 2009 and completed it after much difficulties towards the end last Saturday.
He swam the 33.7km long North Channel between Ireland and Scotland in August 2009. Then the 26km Cook Strait between the North and South islands of New Zealand in February 2010. Then on to the 34km English Channel in August 2010. His fourth was the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, which is 14.4km long in heavy shipping traffic, in May 2011. In October 2011, he did the 33.7km Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and Los Angeles.
The next two were his hardest and had to be postponed a few times because of difficult weather; Hawaii's 43km Molokai Channel between Oahu and the Molokai island in June 2012 and Japan's 19.5km Tsugaru Strait, which is a deep channel with a strong current and large swells, last Saturday.
His epic record cost an average of €10,000 per swim. He had huge support and sponsorship from the west Co Cork community where he lives, hailing originally from Co Kildare. He is not finished, hoping to do mega swims to raise money for a local charity.
We can wonder at his super-human strength. Tougher to do, I would suggest, than climbing Mount Everest. It is a good news story and we are pleased for him and proud of his achievement.
Federer return to top a fitting finale
There is no other tournament in tennis, or most sporting events, that captures the excitement of a Wimbledon final. This year's especially so.
Andy Murray became the first British man to reach the singles final since Bunny Austin in 1938 with the opportunity to end Britain's 76-year wait for the title since Fred Perry won his third in a row in 1936, while Roger Federer had the chance to tie Pete Sampras and William Renshaw (who also made eight finals) at seven. Many of us had written off Federer's chances of winning another Slam let alone returning to pole position, but having despatched current No1 and Wimbledon champion Novak Djockovic comprehensively in the semi-final, he proceeded to do so under the roof on centre court.
All credit to Murray, who benefited from the untimely demise of Nadal to a one-hit wonder to take his place in the final.
But once the rain came and the roof closed there was only going to be one outcome. If Nadal reigns supreme on the red stuff then Roger is the King of indoor tennis.
Admittedly, the task of overcoming a player with no equal on grass or indoors was too much for the Scot, who played aggressively throughout but whose spirit was dented if not quite broken, as was his serve, in a 19-minute game that put the Swiss master 4-2 up. After that, you sensed it was only a matter of time. Murray's passion and effort were admirable and I think it would be a shame if he were never to lift a Slam title, as far lesser players have done so.
It must be remembered that since Wimbledon 2003, only six players have claimed a Grand Slam: Federer 17, Nadal 11, Djockovic five and one each for Roddick, Safin and Del Potro. I reckon it will be a US Open to add to his junior title at Flushing Meadows.
Another interesting development at Wimbledon was that both the men's and ladies titles were won by players over 30. Serena Williams, whose ranking dropped to nearly 200 last year, returned from a life-threatening illness to claim the women's crown.
Since Williams' Wimbledon victory in 2010, there has been no consistency in the women's game in her absence, with virtually a different winner at each Slam. Once fit, I agree with John McEnroe, she is the best player of all-time. She served 24 aces against world No 2 Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final and 17 more in the final against Agnieska Radwanska to set a new record of 102 in the tournament.
For Serena and Roger, I would say there is only one thing better than winning and that is winning something, losing it and winning it back again. Ask Andre Agassi. He returned from No 141 to No 1 after his fall from grace and he was also the oldest player ranked No 1 at 33. So that proves you should never give up on your dreams.
Ryan off mark on love for our league
You would have to admire the cheek of Sean Ryan. From the way he talks, you would swear Irish people and the media were putting some great emotional and financial input into the Airtricity League instead of ignoring it completely -- which they are.