Red Bull Tracking Redmond

Red Bull Media will be filming Stephen Redmond across the Tsugaru Channel, his seventh and final leg of the Oceans Seven scheduled for a 4 am start on Wednesday morning in Japan.

The film documentary will capture the sacrifices and obstacles that the famed Irish swimmer has faced in his global search to reach the pinnacle of marathon swimming. “I have to get this done. Every swim has been so tough. The North Channel with the cold and jellyfish. The English Channel with the tides. I got sick going over to Catalina Island even before I started my crossing there. You come off the plane, go straight over to the boat, and the skipper goes flying over to the island for your start. With jet lag, I was being thrown all over the place in a bunk under the deck. I didn’t know what hit me. Then before you know it, you’re being greased up and told to jump overboard in the pitch darkness of night. What a port.

Then there was the Cook Strait. “We had beautiful conditions for the first two hours.  Great conditions. Then the strait hits you like a sledgehammer. Everything gets thrown at you.  From there [in New Zealand], I went to Hawaii. Great warm water, but those ocean swells and tides are something else. You can’t imagine the strength of the ocean until you are swimming with whales singing at you in an ocean so blue and deep.

And now we are here in Japan. Our third attempt. I have worked on my kick and increased my stroke per minute pace to 58 spm. We’ve have to get it done.”

Red Bull is expecting Redmond to do so. The filmmakers from Germany include a 5-person camera crew. With their visual and audio capabilities, they will bring to life the real-world drama of open water swimming.

It is going to be tough. It is only 19.5 km at its closest point, but Stephen is going to have to get moving in the first 10 km of the swim,” said Steven Munatones. “He needs to step up normal pace and swim fast enough in the first third of the swim, so he can get the benefit of the Tsugaru Current. Once the Tsugaru Current picks him up, he can then settle back down to his normal pace. But then in the final third of the channel, he absolutely needs to maintain his peak pace in order to cut across the Current and reach Hokkaido. He will naturally drift with the Current, but he can’t do so all day and night.”

The Tsugaru Channel requires speed, not just endurance to get across. This is why one reason why it was chosen for the Oceans Seven. The Oceans Seven requires everything of an open water swimmer. Each swim requires a team and the right escort pilot to get safely across.

Swimmers need to be able to handle cold water in the North Channel and Cook Strait. They need to be able to handle the tidal flows in the English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar. They need to be comfortable enough to swim at night in the Catalina Channel. They need to be able to handle huge ocean swell and marine life in the Molokai Channel. And they absolutely need to demonstrate sustained speed to conquer the Tsugaru Channel.

Stamina is just not enough. Speed and strategy are also important elements to complete the equation.”

And, of course, Red Bull will be looking out for sharks, the most menacing of all the elements in the ocean. “There are plenty of sharks out there in the channel. Big ones. The fisherman know they’re out there. That is why men like Captain Mizushima are so valuable. They have lived their lives out in the Tsugaru Channel. “We trust them and they’re only concern is for the safety of the swimmer,” said Masayuki Moriya of Ocean Navi who takes teams and soloists across the Tsugaru Channel.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones