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Press release Double North Channel

Official press release @ FB
2 way North Irish channel attempt Dr Caroline Block 4th - 5th August 2017

'If you don't go when your gone you can't get'

Having planned a 2-way crossing on completion of her North Irish channel one way solo on 6th August 2016 Caroline arrived in Ireland mid July, 2017 ready to go one year to the day.

The current trend for weather on the North Irish channel for the available 2017 tidal windows has been irregular. On 3rd August with the closing of the 3rd window (30.07.17-7.08.17) the conditions were looking far from favourable. Following team discussions the swim date options for this year were limited by her busy schedule so, it was decided in Caroline's words 'let's do this'.

Making use of a forecasted lull in the whether between two low pressure fronts one just leaving Ireland and one in its way Caroline's start date was set. At 20:04hrs on 4th August, 2017 a few days short of a year from her original solo with a water temperature of 12.9c ambient temperature 12.3c and a wind chill of much less Caroline set off from Robbie's Point taking choppy water in her stride and Donaghadee Light house blinking to every second beat of her 58 strokes per minute. A positive mindset made swimming at night easy keeping close to the boat and returning half hourly for her feed.

With the sunrise at 04:40hrs on the morning of Saturday 5th August, 2017 revealing the coastline of Scotland a change of goggles helped keep the suns rays from her eyes bringing some welcomed heat to both Caroline and the infinity crew. The choppy conditions arrived, departed and returned and 8 hours in, Killantringan Lighthouse was in view with a North Westerly wind of 6 knots.

Contending with the infamous Scottish tides at 11:36hrs on Saturday 5th August 2017 (swim time: 15:32:25 swim distance: 49.5 kilometres) Caroline arrived to a small stony beach at the bottom of the garden of the beautiful Knockinaam Lodge at the Port of Spittal bay with the Scottish flag bellowing in the wind.

As per the rules of a two way a swimmer is permitted a ten minute break on completion of their first leg. The sun shone with a clear blue sky as Caroline was joined by Pádraig, had a short stop to regrease, eat and focus on her return leg. One way was done and dusted and she was ready to rock for the second leg. At 11:44:10 she was on the move leaving Scottish shores behind. The tide had turned and she headed North West against wind and waves joined by Pádraig until her first feed.

We all knew that this is where the swim would really begin. Forecasts of predicted good weather failed to appear and Caroline continued relentlessly to swim through these conditions including several squals.

Caroline's simple approach to the swim never altered. Her requests were for factual information of distance, time and sea state allowing her to calculate her performance. This mindset in a marathon open water swimmer is a golden ticket to success. Previous team planning regarding how the swim would progress and how each section would go allowed the plan to unfurl. It was known that at this stage there would be wind against tide but with the actual weather not matching the predicted (Normal in this country) it meant that the seas were heavy slowing progress, preventing the much needed advances North West.

After 63.4 kilometres at 20:07 hrs (5.8.2017) the swim course turned South East at least 7 kilometres short of the predicted target due to the wind and waves. Caroline's pace and energy levels were as on her first stroke all those miles ago stroke rate: steady 54 spm - attitude perfect.

With the currents pushing Caroline South East back towards Scotland her progress advanced slowly West. Caroline was advised to work with the presenting sea state and conditions against this tide to stem the loss of valuable ground and with the same positive reply she said 'lets go'. So, for the next four hours Caroline swam against the tide. With 77 kilometes swam, the tides released their grip, weather conditions improved with less chop and further Westerly progress was made, albeit much later than predicted.

At 22:45hrs as Caroline had her feed and a factual conversation with Pádraig laying out all the details of the swim - tide, sea state, distance. It was clear that Caroline was unlikely to make landfall. In amazing physical and mental condition Caroline would swim a further one hour to assess progress and make sure that the agreed decision was the right one. Swimming at an increased pace of 58spm to the light of the moon Caroline and the cold North Irish channel waters danced in tandem weaving through the complex currents the lights of Belfast harbour and Donaghadee tantalisingly close.

At 23:59:01 hrs having swam 88 kilometres just before a new day Caroline whilst ahead and making history happen bowed gracefully to the North Irish channel fully acknowledging the amplitude of the success.

Dr Caroline Block now holds two North Irish channel one way crossings :) the only lady to swim from Ireland to Scotland twice

You better believe it.

ObserversIan ConroyoyGary Knoxox
PilotCharles StewartrPadraig Mallonon

infinity channel swimming with Caroline had agreed media silence to fully focus on this pioneering swim. The track was shared after the turn around point and all the world was watching commenting with their own ideas of what was happening, filling in from the tracker and imagining what it would be like to be in such an amazing place on earth and this valiant swim - every stroke a winnerInfinit NutritionoCoffee Labs Roasters INCNC
track.rs

Pádraig MalloInfinity Swim Academyty channel swimming Directors personal note:
The team at infinity are amazed at Caroline's stamina, mental and physical ability during this swim and in her life focus.

Mother Nature did not allow Caroline's access to Irish shores. Our admiration and respect for you Dr Caroline Block is unsurmountable - a pleasure to partner you for you in a journey into the unknown.

#toinfinityandbeyond
#glorycomesfromdaringtobegin

Start:
Robbies Point, Ireland
20:04:00 hours Friday 4th August, 2017

Landfall Scotland:
Port of Spittal Bay, Scotland
11:36:25 hours Saturday 5th August, 2017

Start:
Port of Spittal Bay, Scotland
11:44:10 hours Saturday 5th August, 2017

Finish:
East of Belfast Lough, Ireland
23:59:01 hours Saturday 5th August 2017

Total Distance: 88 Kilometers
Total time: 28 hours 55 minutes 01 second

Infinity Channel Swimming
www.infinitychannelswimming.com
infinitychannelcrossings@gmail.com
00447879413131
glory comes from daring to begin