Four-time Paralympian to attempt return swim to Rottnest Island


Jeremy McClure hard at training for his Rottnest round-trip swim attempt. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au   d462400
Jeremy McClure hard at training for his Rottnest round-trip swim attempt. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d462400

FOUR-TIME Paralympian Jeremy McClure will next month attempt the first Rottnest Island and return swim by a legally blind swimmer.

The Bull Creek resident is no stranger to the water but admits swimming in the ocean is very different from the comforting confines of the pool – especially when you are covering 40km non-stop.

McClure lost nearly all of his vision as the result of a hereditary condition as a teenager.

He completed a solo Rottnest crossing in February 2015 and has been itching to return to the ocean ever since.

“I had always been interested in marathon distance swimming and basically signed up the first time just to see if I could do it,” he said.

“I finished in just under eight hours and really enjoyed the swim but had to get back to concentrating on sprint swimming for the Paralympics, so I sort of pushed it to the back of my mind for a while.

“Now that I’m back from Rio and still in pretty good shape, I thought it was a good time to attempt a double crossing.

“Only a handful of able-bodied people have done it, so it’s a pretty big ask and I’m hoping to attract a bit of attention to raise money for a good cause.”

That cause is Alzheimer’s Australia WA, which McClure is hoping to present with a cheque for $5000 at the end of his swim.

“I don’t have any direct experience with Alzheimer’s but it’s a growing issue as the population ages and obviously something that is very hard on both the person with the disease and their friends and family,” he said.

Training is going well for the Bull Creek resident, who recently competed in the Open Water Swimming State Championships at Champion Lakes, completing the 10km course in three hours and nine minutes.

He is aiming to complete the double crossing in around 15 hours and will leave from Cottesloe beach on either December 17 or 18 depending on weather and ocean conditions.

“What I’m actually most worried about is sharks but I’ll have two support swimmers and four or five kayaks with me at all times so hopefully that will create enough havoc in the water to keep them away,” he said.

In a good indicator of the magnitude of his feat, McClure has assembled a team of nine support swimmers who will rotate through the water to keep him on course.

Anybody that would like to donate money to McClure’s Alzheimer’s Australia WA fundraising page can visit https://give.everydayhero.com/au/double-rottnest-crossing-for-alzheimers.