FEATURES,  Features

The best swims in the world deserve the best kit

Already the first person to complete the epic ‘Oceans Seven’, the seven toughest channel crossings in the world, Stephen Redmond ticked off another epic swim this year when he successfully swam 47 km from Baltimore in County Cork, Ireland to the Fastnet Rock and back.

Stephen had been trying to complete the round trip for four years, so he was understandably ecstatic, albeit drained, on 20 July when he completed the swim in an incredible 15 hours 35 min.

“The Fastnet swim has taken me four years of trying and training,” he said after the swim. “To finally complete it this year is a great relief. Obsession is in us all.”

Setting off at 4am in terrifying inky black water, Stephen made great progress and at first light found himself swimming surrounded by a pod of minke whales. He was then joined by dolphins, thousands of jellyfish and a blue shark. “The Fastnet Swim turned out to be one of the best swims and best water in the world!” he said.

With water temps between 10 and 11 degrees Celsius and with lots to navigate all the way, Fastnet was a very technical swim which needed a highly experienced support crew with excellent local knowledge of tides and timings as well as the provision of nutritional support and, especially towards the end, much needed encouragement.

On top of having the right crew, Stephen is adamant that having the right kit was equally essential. “It was such a technical swim. I had it all: winds, tides and I was even hammered by jellyfish. I have to pay tribute to my Aqua Sphere’s VISTA goggles. I’ve used these for all my training and long swims and they are, without doubt, the best, hassle-free, brilliant, hard-wearing goggles around. They never leak. They feel secure. Believe me, I have tried other makes, but I always come back to these. For the Fastnet Swim, I put them on and have never had to touch them for the whole swim, despite massive swells crashing into my right side. They felt great, gave me a great field of vision because of AquaSphere’s tried and tested curved lens technology, and never budged. Not fiddling or worrying about your kit is all part of enjoying and succeeding in swimming and for long distance open water where you are out there alone, you really need and rely on the best there is. In my opinion, Aqua Sphere’s goggles are just brilliant.”

Respected for its technical ability to create swimming goggles which combine outstanding 180-degree panoramic vision with a super comfortable fit, Aqua Sphere is a favourite with pool and open water swimmers and interestingly its Kaiman Exo was the goggle of choice for another epic long distance swimmer, Sarah Thomas, who last year became the first person to swim the English Channel four times non stop. One pair of goggles for the entire swim. Phew!

For those like Stephen Redmond who like a larger goggle or mask, the Vista is now available in a VISTA PRO™ version, which is actually the world’s first swim mask to use one single sleek curved lens to provide uninterrupted 180 degrees of panoramic vision. One single lens runs entirely across the face without interruption, and is distortion-free because of clever pivoting buckles which do not bend or warp the frame. The hypoallergenic latex-free Silicone skirt does not place unnecessary stress on the skin, allowing the mask to be worn for prolonged periods without discomfort. It also looks amazing and is available in a range of lens options. Outdoor Swimmer tested one in the September 2020 issue and can verify for its unparalleled field of vision.

For more info on Aqua Sphere’s range of goggles and masks visit www.aquasphereswim.com/uk

For more info about Stephen Redmond’s amazing swim visit fastnetswim.com

Content sponsored by Aqua Sphere

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.