Ausnew Home Care | Blind swimmer Jeremy McClure becomes first person to finish Abrolhos to Geraldton journey

Blind swimmer Jeremy McClure becomes first person to finish Abrolhos to Geraldton journey

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Cold, hungry and bone-tired, blind athlete Jeremy McClure collapses on a Geraldton beach after an epic swim from the Abrolhos Islands.

The Perth Paralympian has become the first person to complete the 60-kilometre marathon, which took McClure and his support crew just over 24 hours to finish.

The 35-year-old was forced to abort his first attempt at the record in June due to bad weather.

McClure's sight started to rapidly deteriorate when he was 15 years old, with a hereditary condition leaving him with about 2 per cent of his normal vision.

He quickly took to swimming as an outlet to distract himself from going blind and competed in his first Paralympic Games in Athens less than 12 months later.

A man wrapped in a white blanket hugs an older man in a yellow jacket. Ausnew Home Care, NDIS registered provider, My Aged Care
Jeremy and Ken McClure embrace on Geraldton's Pages Beach.(ABC News: Phoebe Pin)

McClure became the first person to swim from Dirk Hartog Islands to Denham earlier this year, and he has crossed the Rottnest Channel 11 times.

But McClure said the swim from the picturesque Abrolhos Islands was like nothing he had ever done before.

"This is definitely Rottnest on steroids," he said. 

"I used to train very hard with [the Paralympics], but this is a different hard. This is very rewarding, but it's a huge mental game.

"When you can push yourself more and more and more where someone's never achieved something before … it's quite fulfilling."

A man lies on the beach while a woman covers him in blankets.
An exhausted Jeremy McClure lies on the beach after completing the epic swim.(ABC News: Phoebe Pin)

McClure travelled by boat to Pelsaert Island on Friday morning, officially starting his swim at about 10am.

He was tethered to swimmers acting as his eyes, and boats delivered food and water to the team of almost 30 people.

Kayakers hung shark shields to help protect the swimmers, but whales and Bluebottle jellyfish were among the only marine life the group encountered.

Bad weather hampers last leg 

Conditions started to sour on Saturday morning, with McClure saying there were moments he thought he might not make it to shore.

"About 15km from the end, my stomach was kind of feeling like I was going to be sick … but a couple of my team members were like, 'You'll be okay; push through,'" he said.

"The last 8km felt like forever … but we got here, so it was well worth it."

McClure was greeted at Pages Beach at about 10.30am by dozens of loved ones and Geraldton residents who had followed the athlete since his first attempt.

People in bathers jump off a boat into the ocean.
Jeremy McClure's team of support swimmers jumped in the water to join him towards the finish line.(ABC News: Phoebe Pin)

Paramedics covered McClure in blankets and took him to Geraldton hospital for observation, but no health concerns were identified.

McClure said he was overcome by emotion at the achievement.

"I'm actually very proud of myself, and I'm proud of everyone here," he said.

"I think I'm almost lucky I'm blind to be able to rely on all these people … they are amazing."


Source: ABC

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