Anne-marie Ward

Swimmer

Anne-Marie Ward was the first woman from Ireland to complete the North Channel in 2010 in 18 hours and 59 minutes.  It was quite a memorable success as she failed in 2008 after 17.5 hours – a swim covered in a TG4 programme that same year.  This programme, perhaps more than anything, gave the public in Ireland an insight into the awesome challenge of marathon swimming and the cruelty of adverse tides and conditions.   She attempted again in 2009 and again in 2010 one month before completing – typically in water below 12 C.  This earned her the 2010 award as the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year. In June 2011, at the United Nations, Ward accepted the award gave a speech with the famous line: “this is my first ever medal from swimming".
 
She started her marathon career in 2003 with a wetsuit swim (her last) from Tory Island to Magheroarty (10 miles) with torrential rain, a thunderstorm, fork lightning and strong currents.  The swim took 8 hours and 15 minutes.  Good preparation for the trials ahead!  Three years later Anne-Marie was part of the 6 person 830-mile Round Ireland team which swam for 56 days, the longest non-consecutive marathon stage relay in the world.
 
In 2007 she completed the English Channel at age 41 in 20 hours and 4 minutes.   This earned her the CSA’s prestigious Pierre van Voreen Award for the best swim in arduous conditions with a finish in force 5/6 winds. 
 
Anne-Marie then moved to the Ice – the first European to complete an Ice Mile (Mulroy, Donegal in February 2012) accredited by the International Ice Swimming Association.  The next year she was part of the relay team and completed the Bering Strait (86 km with water temperatures between 2.5 and 10C) over a 6 day period – resulting in her first global award:  World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year 
 
Anne-Marie is simply the most inspiring marathon swimmer ever from Ireland.