I am from a small part of the world known as Camlough village, Northern Ireland where I grew up as the youngest of 6 in the Mallon clan. I have loved swimming since I was wee and grew up spending my time between Camlough Lake and the local swimming pool in Newry.
My next goal is to conquer a two-way solo (double-crossing) of the North Channel. My slot is booked for September 2020 and I’m on track to clock up a planned 1200km+ in training swims!
The North Channel is a notoriously difficult body of water between Ireland and Scotland and is considered to be the toughest channel swim in the world, with athletes toughing it out against *extreme elements to achieve the 35km crossing between Ireland and Scotland (*extreme elements include: water temperatures that’ll freeze your t*ts off, out of this world currents and badass stinging jellyfish!). It’s so tough in fact, that just over 80 people in the world have ever successfully crossed it solo. When I cross it – twice in a row - I’ll be the first person to ever successfully do so.
In case you’re interested, I’ve had a bit of experience with open water swimming, which I will be drawing on in my attempt to achieve this massive feat, including:
North Channel solo crossing, 3rd fastest overall time and Irish record, 2014
1st female, 2nd overall - Irish long distance National Championship 17km, 2007 (I broke the record and thankfully it still holds - so I don’t have to do it again just yet!)
1st female, 2nd overall - British Championships 17km Lake Windermere, 2010
1st female –National Championships 10km Lough Sheelin, 2010
1st female –Swim Ireland National 10km Camlough, 2010
10th female - Rottnest Channel Swim 19.7km, Perth Australia, 2013
1st female – South Head Roughwater Swim 10km, Sydney Australia, 2014
In addition, despite being a terribly bad runner, I have enjoyed competing in triathlon and half ironman events over the years and achieved a few reasonable placings - (Canberra 70.3 Half Ironman 2011, 12th female (AG); Husky Long Course 2012 and 2014, 12th female (AG); Husky Olympic 2011 and 213, 2nd female (AG); ITU Sydney Olympics 2011 and 2012, 9th and 10th female (AG).
Back to the North Channel though… this year I’ll be attempting to sustain a high level of competition as part of my preparations for the swim and will be heading to some intense swim camps around Australia and in Ireland. I’ll also be competing in loads of training swims, including Bondi to Bronte in Sydney Australia, the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the Port to Pub in Perth, Western Australia and a swim or two of my own making between Bundeena and Wollongong.
I will be updating this blog with all my adventures and training swim sagas, both long and short, so feel free to sign up for updates and stay in touch with me as I tick along until September.
I’ll sorely need all the support and banter I can get to keep me going along the way!!!