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3 Channel Crossings in 33 Days

Caitlin O'Reilly Completes Three of the Ocean Seven Crossings


The months of August and September have been big months with even bigger swims for North Shore’s Caitlin O’Reilly. The 19 year old set out to complete the English channel, the North Channel, and the Strait of Gibraltar, to tick of three more swims on her Oceans Seven campaign to bring her total to five swims currently.


Caitlin swam the 33km English Channel (England to France) in 9 hours and 34 minutes (pending ratification), piloted by Lance Orams. The swim begun in the dark at 4.45 am with less than ideal conditions, with the sea temperature 16 degrees and being choppy water most of the way. Nevertheless, Caitlin persevered and has set the fastest swim by a female for the season.


Caitlin was pleased with her efforts across the three channel crossings, and credited nutrition and her crew for their support.


“Good nutrition and plenty of rest was key to recovery and setting up for the next swim. It’s been really cool to have the opportunity to travel around the world doing what I love and couldn’t have done it without the support of Philip Rush, my family, coaches and the crew at North Shore Swimming.”

Two weeks later was the 34.5km North Channel crossing (Ireland to Scotland) in an official 9 hours and 57 minutes, piloted by Brian Meharg. At the time, Caitlin was the youngest female to swim the North Channel. With expected sea temperatures of under 14 degrees and starting her swim in the early hours of the morning, Caitlin counts herself lucky for having sun most of the day, which helped increase the sea temperature to 15.8 degrees. Caitlin was grateful for this, as it kept the large Lions Mane Jellyfish below the surface and out of her way. The highlight of the North Channel was a cheeky seal coming for a look and dolphins swimming around her.


After completing the North Crossing, Caitlin took a gamble and flew to Tarifa, Spain, to see if she could get an opportunity to swim the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain to Morocco). Luckily there was a cancellation resulting in a free spot in the team with three other swimmers.


Caitlin found this the best swim of the three.


“It was definitely the coolest swim I’ve done. We had dolphins join us right from the start and had such a sunny day.”

Caitlin was grateful that her coach was able to join her for the crossings.


“Having my coach Philip Rush with me for the month has been invaluable. His knowledge and experience really helped me achieve my goals in open water swimming.”

Caitlin now has two more swims to finish to complete the Oceans Sevens – Molokai Channel, Hawaii, which she plans to complete in November, and Catalina Channel, which is planned for July next year.


Congratulations Caitlin on these crossings and good luck in your preparation for the the final two crossings to complete the set.

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