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ITF National Co-ordinator for Australia, Dean Summers, swims again
7 · August · 2017

DEAN Summers plans to swim the 35km of cold, jellyfish-infested waters between Northern Ireland and Scotland next month to raise funds for Hunterlink and raise awareness of seafarers.

A website has been set up for his awareness-raising swims at www.swimdean.com.

Mr Summers, ITF national co-ordinator for Australia, said the swim to Scotland would hardly be a walk in the park.

“This swim is part of what’s called the Ocean’s Seven, it’s the seven toughest swims in the world, and this is, I think, one of the toughest,” he said.

Not only will he have to swim for about 15 hours in cold water (11 or 12 degrees!), but Mr Summers will have to fend off lion’s mane jellyfish.

“They’re terrible animals – they’ve got stingers that go for up to 30m,” he said.

“I’m not looking forward to seeing them, but I’m assured of it; this time of year they’re out and about.”

Mr Summers has been training for this swim for two years and has enlisted the help of a coach and a nutritionist. He’s also been travelling to colder climes to get some cold-water swimming experience, as Sydney’s ocean water doesn’t get cold enough, even in the winter.

“In this past month, I’ve been doing three mornings a week from two to five hours swimming at Brighton-Le-Sands – it’s cold there, around 12 or 13 degrees,” he said.

“And, I’m doing distances of up to 50km a week, training in the pool.”

The swim is to take place in a window between August 28 and September 4. Mr Summers said he would wait for the best conditions when there would be no storms, low swell and current.

Mr Summers has been swimming in open water for good causes for a few years now, becoming the 135th person to be awarded the Triple Crown, which includes the English Channel, circumnavigation of Manhattan Island, and the Catalina Channel (between Catalina Island and Los Angeles).

With these swims, Mr Summers also help raise funds for Hunterlink, as well as awareness for seafarer’s mental health issues.

With his upcoming swim, Mr Summers said he wanted to engage industry in raising awareness of the issue.

“Mental health knows no social boundaries – it doesn’t matter if you’re a boss or a wharfie, a captain or a deck boy,” he said.

“It’s a problem that effects everybody.”

“This isn’t just a Union responsibility, and this is a chance for industry to join with us and to address the issue.

“It can stop shipping, if a seafarer comes off a ship having an episode, drug, alcohol or mental health, the ship could be held up in a port, and that’s no good for anybody, we don’t want to have that, and we do want to make sure seafarers get the help they need.”

 

Donations can be made through https://give.everydayhero.com/au/hunterlink-eap