This week, a man has been hailed as ‘Superman’ for becoming the first ever person to swim across the open waters between Scotland and the coast of Antrim. On Sunday, Wayne Soutter made history by conquering the sea between the Mull of Kintyre and Kenbane Head in Co Antrim. The South African who resides and works in London spent a total of more than 12 long hours in the cold sea battling dreadful waves, unpredictable currents and stings from jellyfish.
This is definitely not a norm for the 43 year old. In fact, he is used to the life of a boss at a computer firm and his daily routine would be surfing the net. Upon success of his swim, a special reception was held for him and he was presented with a plaque from the Moyle District Council. “People think channel swimming is a solo sport but it is the most unsolo sport you can do. You can’t do it without a body of people in the boat supporting you all the way. When I was in the water I felt so isolated. You can’t see anything so you hand over everything to the people on the boat. You put your entire trust in those people and it was wonderful to have had an incredible team behind me. The people of Ballycastle have opened their arms to me and I’ve loved the whole experience,’’ stated a very proud and accomplished Wayne about his team.
Sean McCarry, a member of the Community Rescue Service, described Wayne’s achievement as “super-human”. “I have heard Wayne described a few times already as Superman and I’m amazed he is even walking today after that. You had to be out there to see how bad it was with the waves and that and he made friends with some jellyfish along the way,” he explained.
Wayne took off from the Mull of Kintyre at 11.19am on Sunday and arrived at Kenbane Head, near Ballycastle, around 11.30pm. “I thought it was interesting to try something that had never been done. I was not afraid before the swim, but about halfway through I really started getting quite scared. The tides and the winds were ferocious, there were times the boat was spinning in 180 degree circles. When you get cold, you get depressed and it was so hard. At one point I was feeling so down, the only way to feel better was to swim harder. There were times I was in a field of jellyfish, everywhere I looked there were jellyfish. I just had to put my head down and swim through them. It was awful,” Wayne described his obstacles and how he overcame them.
Swimming in the sea or any form of open water is always a challenge. Happy Fish Swim School recommends the Open Water SwimSafer Course for anyone who wishes to attempt it.