DERRY City Council’s George Meenan last week became the first Derry man to officially swim the English Channel when he successfully navigated the approximately 21-mile course in a superb time of 12hours and 57minutes.
The 39-year-old Building Control Officer (below) is a well known figure within local swimming circles, having followed in the footsteps of his father, Georgie, who was also an accomplished swimmer.
Since first learning to swim as an infant in the sea at Greencastle, Meenan has been no stranger to endurance swimming and only last year completed a charity four-man relay swim of the channel, something which seems to have ‘whet’ his appetite for his latest feat,
With an individual swim of Lake Zurich in Switzerland already under his belt, George was so determined to accomplish his goal this year that he self-financed the cost of travel, hire of safety boat and training program. His dedication and commitment paid off last Thursday when he received a call from the pilot of his boat saying a space was available to attempt the arduous crossing.
Accompanied by his close friend and motivator, Gerard Curran, the pair travelled to Belfast where they caught the overnight Ferry to Liverpool before making the six hour, 300-mile drive to Dover. George entered the water at Shakespeare Beach Dover at 6.00am last Thursday after receiving clearance.
Backed by the unwavering support of his wife Sinead and sons, Liam and Seamus, George finally stepped out of the water in Cap Gris-Nez, Calais later that evening to complete a remarkable personal achievement.