The Blackwater Triathlon Club was delighted to welcome Steve Redmond for a talk in Fermoy on Sunday the 21st of January. Steve was the first person to complete the notorious “Ocean’s 7 Challenge”. Ocean’s Seven consists of seven long-distance open-water swims, and is considered the marathon swimming equivalent of the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge. It includes the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar. The theme of the talk was ‘Motivation’. The event, which was free of charge, took place in the Youth Centre on Ashe Quay and attracted a wide spectrum of people, both BTC members and non-members, with people travelling from as far as Tralee to attend. The evening started with a short film, The Swimmer, directed by Thomas Beug, which featured Steve. Following this Steve spent 90 minutes or so telling us about his experiences. As well as an amazing swimmer our guest proved to be an engaging and entertaining speaker who detailed his exploits in a very honest, funny and unfailingly humble manner. Steve started his odyssey in August 2009, swimming the English Channel. This was followed by the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland a year later. At that stage he wasn’t even aware of the Oceans7 challenge, but an email from another distance swimmer alerted him to possibility and the seed was sown. In May 2011 he swam the Gibraltar Strait between Spain and Morocco and subsequently, in October of that year, he swam the Catalina Channel off California. He followed that up in February 2012 with a swim of the Molokai Channel in Hawaii and then the Cook Strait between the North and South islands of New Zealand the same month. He finally completed the challenge with his 20km swim of the Tsugaru Strait in Japan. The level of both physical and mental strength to complete these swims is quite phenomenal. Tales of hours in the freezing seas off Northern Ireland, excessive sunburn in New Zealand and encounters with great white sharks kept us all entertained and inspired. The lengths Steve had to go to in order to complete the swims were fascinating, including possibly a little too much detail about the application of lanolin before the swims. A little known fact about Steve is that he has also completed Iron Man events and was a founding member of the West Cork Triathlon Club. His triathlon experience really helped him to pinpoint the approach that our members might need to overcome their own sporting challenges in the years ahead. It was a great evening to start the year. Thanks to the Youth Centre for staying open late to facilitate us. Also much credit has to go to Niamh Fleming for organising the event, and of course Steve Redmond himself for making the evening so worthwhile.