Risky event tests skill and heart

  • Pristine waters: swimmers prepare for last year’s competition, which was won by local resident Eric Soria

    Pristine waters: swimmers prepare for last year’s competition, which was won by local resident Eric Soria

Open water swimming enthusiasts will test their skills when the Bermuda Four Corners Challenge takes place today and tomorrow.

The Four Corners is a set of four open water swims, each of four miles around the outside of the island, and represent a true exposure to elements.

Each year two of the four swims are scheduled and this year will see the northwest route (Somerset Long Bay, around Daniel’s Island then up to Snorkel Park) and the southeast route (Well Bay on Cooper’s Island down to John Smith’s Bay).

The event, hosted by Bermuda Open Water Swimming was started by Nick Strong and Mike Cash as an event to take advantage of some of the more beautiful but also more exposed and less accessible locations around the island. The two other routes — Jobsons Cove to Whale Bone Bay and Soldier Bay on Cooper’s Island, around St David’s head up to Fort St Catherine — all take swimmers over beautiful reefline and see some of the most pristine waters on the planet.

Last year the two top finishers were local resident Eric Soria and Eileen Mullowney, who hammered out the eight-mile swim while dodging the Portuguese man-of-war that were dotting the route and interfered with a number of swimmers.

“This is a truly special event on the open water calendar,” Soria said. “I feel so fortunate to be able to enjoy the ocean around Bermuda and this event really tests your skills and heart.”

Mullowney added: “I struggled last year and feel like I’m ready to do better this year, but open water is sometimes unforgiving, but I’m no chicken!”

The event will also brings visitors to the island, many of whom cut their teeth with the Round the Sound event, but who are realising that Bermuda is even more beautiful than what Harrington Sound offers.

Tennille Bistrian Treadwell, a visitor from Amagansett, New York, is fresh off her recent marathon in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is looking to challenge the waves.

“I’ve been coming to Round the Sound for many years now and find it and Bermuda so special,” she said. “This will be my first shot at Four Corners, and I’m very excited to test myself and enjoy the conditions.”

The event is on the risky end of things, with the swims occurring away from more sheltered waters and the decision is up to the participants if they are comfortable in the conditions on the day. With maximum forecast winds of 12-15 knots today the conditions will be a little rough, but generally favourable.

“We’ve all seen the recent shark videos, but for the most part we know sharks are out there all the time,” Strong said.

“The only difference is someone recently filmed them. Last year we heard of a 12-foot hammerhead [shark] around St George’s the day before we did the Soldier Bay to Fort St Catherine swim, so we know big fish are out there.”

This year there is a new division, the “strongman” category, where a swimmer does the course towing a log (100lbs for men, 75lbs for women). As an organiser, Cash has decided to participate in the Strongman division, but as yet no one else has agreed to challenge him.

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Published Apr 21, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 10:50 pm)

Risky event tests skill and heart

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