Cook Strait swim crossing today

SOPHIE SPEER
Last updated 08:53 17/02/2012
Steve Redmond
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SWIMMER: Steven Redmond hopes to be the first person to complete the Oceans 7 Challenge.

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While most people are eating their breakfast and walking out the door to work, Irish man Steve Redmond is swimming across the Cook Strait this morning.

The 46-year-old man is hoping to be the first person to complete the Oceans 7 Challenge, a series of open water swims which test a swimmer's mental and physical endurance.

So far Mr Redmond, owner of a tool hire business in County Cork, has completed four swims: in 2009, the English Channel, in 2010 the North Channel in Ireland, and in 2011 the Strait of Gibraltar and Catalina Channel.

He arrived in Wellington on Monday and was hoping to complete the swim the following day, however strong winds stopped the attempt.

If successful today, he hopes to continue on to complete the Moloka'i Channel in Hawaii later this month'' and Tsugaru Strait in Japan in June.

The father of two said he was not a ''good'' swimmer, but had the passion and drive to keep going.

It is a race against time for the Irish man to be the first in the world, with Australian Penny Palfrey also vying for the title.

''I don't care [if I'm the first] but it would be good. It would be nice to beat somebody instead of being beaten all the time,'' he said, referring to the tough few years Ireland has had.

Fundraisers have been held and the international Irish community called upon to help out his campaign.

The man never described himself as 'I', rather using 'we' to describe himself and all the supporters who backed him.

''The people in the boat keep me alive, they're my life support and my emotional support.''

He expected the 26km swim to take between 10 and 15 hours.

''I don't care how long it takes. It all boils down to the next few hours. I don't ever think of stopping, I mean, I think of stopping every 20 seconds, but I don't really consider it,'' he said.

Throughout the swim he would ''pray like hell'' and chant the name of his two children, Siadbh, 11, and Stevie, 7, over and over again.

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