Doctor at Ealing Hospital swims English Channel – at night

  Posted: 13.09.21 at 13:12 by Hannah Davenport

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THE 25-year-old junior doctor from Ealing Hospital swam in a six-person relay team across the English Channel on Sunday night.

Dervla Ireland and her team, The Aspire Bulldogs, got the go ahead at 10:30pm yesterday, after their crossing was previously deferred due to adverse weather conditions.

Dervla swam two one-hour sessions out of the 21-mile crossing, which stretched to 31-miles with the drift of the current.

“I can’t say I recommend night-time swimming in the channel”, Dervla told the London North West NHS Trust. “It’s cold, wet and you can’t see where you are going.

“You bump into all sorts in the water and I’m pretty sure I swam into a jellyfish but luckily it hit my swimming cap and slide off without stinging me.

“My second session was at dawn and we were accompanied a lot of the way by someone making a separate solo attempt.”

Training included long cold showers. Credit: London North West University Healthcare.

She added: “I’d like to say we celebrated but we were so tired we feel asleep on the trip back.”

The toughest part of night swimming was having nothing to look at, which made time pass very slowly according to Dervla.

Despite working gruelling hours on a Covid ward, she still managed to spend several hours a week training over the past year.

Training included taking long cold showers and baths to acclimatise to the bracing waters of the channel.

Dervla was raising money for Aspire, a charity that helps people with life changing spinal injuries regain their independence.

Dervla thought she was hit by a jellyfish mid-swim. Credit: London North West University Healthcare.

She just finished her rotation with Ealing Hospital and has returned to her native Devon.

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