Lisa Cummins, Irish Luminary In The Open Water

Lisa Cummins, Irish Luminary In The Open Water

Courtesy of Ned Denison, Cork, Ireland.

Lisa Cummins has enjoyed a solid marathon and channel swimming career that started out with bang.

In 2009, she set a local Sandycove Island record with a 19-lap 27 km training swim conducted through the night. She was preparing for her September 2009 two-way crossing of the English Channel from England to France to England. She eventually completed the double crossing in 35 hours with a 14 hour 36 minute first leg and a 20 hour 24 minute second leg.

The 26-year-old became the first Irish person, and 20th person overall, to successfully complete the 68 km two-way crossing of the English Channel. She was the second person and first woman to complete a two-way English Channel crossing without having first completed a one-way.

Her 35-hour swim raised money for three charities: the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, Marymount Hospice and Cork ARC Cancer Support House.

Sarah Cummins was onboard Lisa’s escort boat, “I was afforded a unique opportunity that will stay with me the rest of my life. She was amazing, kept the spirit up, and was nothing but focused the whole swim. It was a pleasure to crew, she just put the head down and swam. She built up her open water swimming from nothing, just worked on endurance over 16 months.”

That success was preceded by and followed up with numerous other swims around the world:

* 13 km from Blackrock Village to Cobh swim in 2008
* 26.4 km International Self-Transcendence Marathon-Schwimmen in Switzerland in 2010
* 12.5 km River Lee Dam to County Hall crossing in 2011
* Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 2013
* 19.7 km Rottnest Channel Swim in Western Australia in 2014
* warm-water 20.1 km Swim Around Key West in Florida in 2014
* 11.3 km Rosscarbery to Red Strand swim, an unprecedented swim with Ciaran Byrne
* 10 km BEST Fest in Mallorca, Spain in 2017

Ned Denison describes the phenom. “In addition to her swimming feats, she has given back to the sport over the years. She has contributed locally as a swim organizer, crew and volunteer including serving as a committee member, website, and webmaster for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame event for the Sandycove Island Swim Club.

She has also set open water swimming records from Glandore around Adam’s Island and back in the first circumnavigation swim, the first crossing from Oysterhaven to Sandycove, and the first crossing from Portmagee to Knightstown

Quite a legacy with more to follow.

Footnote: On January 5th 2018, she was inducted as an Honour Swimmer in the Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland.

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Steven Munatones