‘To share the achievement with these ladies is just so special’ – Kerry swimmers cross the English Channel

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It’s a case of mission accomplished for four Kerry swimmers who earlier this week turned a dream into a reality as they successfully completed the mammoth task of a relay swim across the 33km long English Channel in an official time of 14hrs and 10 minutes.

laine Burrows Dillane, Aisling Brosnan, Caroline Corkery and Sandra Martin – or the Fenit Funky Femmes as they are known collectively – set off from Dover on at 11pm Monday night and took it in turns swimming all the way across the 20.5 mile stretch of water, reaching Calais just over 14 hours later.

It’s an amazing accomplishment for all four ladies, in particular for Aisling, Caroline and Sandra as it marks the first time that all three had ever swum the Channel and as if this wasn’t amazing enough on its own, it comes just three years after Caroline first learned to swim back in 2019.

It was the not the first time crossing the Channel for Elaine, who famously swam it solo back in 2019, but as amazing as this achievement was back then and as amazing as all the other things she has accomplished as a swimmer, she told The Kerryman that crossing the Channel with Aisling, Sandra and Caroline by her side is up there as one of the best things she has done.

“I think we’re feeling everything all rolled into one to be honest with you. We’re slightly sunburnt and just ecstatic at what we’ve done but I think we’re all mentally tired as well,” said Elaine, who was accompanied by the other ladies on the phone call as they all made their way home from Dover.

“You have to keep it all together and as much and all as you’re having a good day, you’re mentally focused all the time and I think that because of that, today, we feel mentally tired more than anything but without a doubt, sharing this experience with a team makes it all the more special,” she said.

Going on, Elaine said that there was a few things that she had to get used to when swimming as part of a relay team.

“Because there was four of us, you’re not just thinking about yourself in the water, you’re also worried about the other girls that are out there and you’re worried about the girls that have just come out the water. We were all just looking after one another by getting each other dressed, feeding each other and making sure that everybody is doing everything that they’re supposed to be doing,” she said.

“Generally when I’m doing a solo swim, you’d have a team with you but you’re the one in the water swimming and they’re in the boat telling you what to do whereas when you’re doing it with a team like I did with Aisling, Caroline and Sandra, it’s a team effort all the way. It’s just fabulous, so, so fabulous. To share the achievement with these ladies is just so special,” she added.

For Caroline, it’s been a long road to here from when she first decided three years ago that she wanted to swim and even she admitted that crossing the Channel was never something she ever even imagined doing back then.

“I never thought I’d be doing a relay swim of the English Channel, let me tell you that, all I ever wanted to do was to learn how to swim!” she laughed.

As for the future of the Fenit Funky Femmes, the ladies said that they’ve nothing in mind yet – well apart from a few celebratory drinks of course – but that doesn’t mean they won’t come up with some new challenge to tackle together.

“We’ll get our heads down and we’ll think of something I’m sure,” said Caroline.



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