WA Paralympian swimmer Jeremy McClure taking on biggest challenge yet in Geraldton waters

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Jeremy McClure and guide dog Nina.
Camera IconJeremy McClure and guide dog Nina. Credit: Jessica Moroney

Gutsy four-time Paralympian Jeremy McClure is diving into his latest ambitious mission on Saturday — to swim 53km from the Abrolhos to Geraldton.

It’s a feat no one has likely achieved before and McClure isn’t letting a bit of Geraldton’s typical wind deter him.

It’s been a week of windy weather, but McClure said he would tackle the swim regardless after training at Geraldton’s Front Beach on Thursday.

The legally blind swimmer began his career when he was young, first competing in the Paralympics at the age of 17 and going on to compete in four Games.

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His passion soon turned to open water swimming and he has completed the well-known Rottnest Island crossing 11 times.

At the beginning of the year, he successfully swam 36km in 12 hours and 41 minutes from Dirk Hartog Island to Denham.

His intention to leave Hummock Island around 1pm on Saturday and swim back to the Geraldton foreshore will have him in motion for around 24 hours.

“We decided not to go ahead with Wednesday or Thursday; the currents can be a big concern,” McClure said.

“On Saturday, the conditions are looking good — a maximum of 15 knots, so very achievable.”

McClure said his newborn daughter Olympia was the only reason he was jumping in the water this late in the year.

“I didn’t want to do it (the swim) too soon before she was born; there’s a little more stability now,” he said.

New to swimming in the colder months, McClure said he was training in English Channel temperatures — as low as 7C — and although the temperatures were colder, he had high hopes about the challenge.

“I’m really excited — a little apprehensive — as everyone would be with something they’ve never done before,” he said.

McClure said he had 34 volunteers ranging from skippers, film crew, kayakers and marine scientists behind him for the swim, which is also a fundraiser for Guide Dogs WA.

“They (marine scientists) are the ones who will make the decisions to continue swimming on or pull the pin,” he said.

His father Ken said he thought this swim would be the most risky challenge yet.

“Swimming 12 hours in the dark, it will be quite testing,” he said.

The Paralympian’s most extreme swimming challenge yet will be tracked with a live GPS tracker, which you can follow on McClure’s Facebook page.

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