Wednesday 18 September 2019

Mother of two realises dream of swimming Channel

Tralee woman Elaine Burrows Dillane took 12 hours, 45 minutes. Photo: Domnick Walsh
Tralee woman Elaine Burrows Dillane took 12 hours, 45 minutes. Photo: Domnick Walsh

Gabija Gataveckaite

A mother of two from Kerry has achieved her childhood dream of swimming the English Channel.

Elaine Burrows Dillane (48), from Tralee, swam the distance in 12 hours and 45 minutes, departing from Dover Harbour at 7am on Tuesday and arriving in Cap Gris-Nez in northern France at 7.45pm.

She is the first Kerry woman to swim the English Channel.

"I'm thrilled with the time. My coach told me not to worry about the time but I wanted to make it in around 13 to 16 hours," she told the Irish Independent.

"The first eight-and-a-half hours of the swim the weather was fab and the water was like glass, beautiful and clear, but for the last four it was like someone turned on a light.

"It was very difficult. It was windy and the waves were big so I was fighting the water and tried to go with it as it was quite rough.

"But that's all a part of the swim. It changes hour to hour."

She wasn't allowed to touch the support boat which followed her and had drinks passed to her by a fishing line.

Her trainer, Kevin Williams, said that while the channel is 36km, due to current and tricky waters it is considered closer to 45km for swimmers.

Ms Burrows Dillane said swimming the English Channel was a childhood dream and she vowed to do it when a boy she knew fell ill.

"In the run-up to my wedding, my little page boy, who was three-and-a-half years of age, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

"Doctors removed 60pc of it and I promised myself that if he was my page boy and made it to the wedding, I would swim the channel for Brain Tumour Ireland. He's now 28 with kids of his own," she said.

Irish Independent

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