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Posted by Kinsale Advertiser on 20 June 2014

There are not to many 10yr olds that when asked if they would like a present, or to swim around an island for their 11th birthday would pick the latter. But that's exactly what happened, and the week of her 11th birthday Amelia Colbert started her training to swim the 1mile loop around Sandycove island.

Putting in a solid two sessions in the pool each week, one session was dedicated to technique through games, drills and practice while the other session concentrated on distance, threading water and breathing exercises.

After three months of increasing the swim distance each week the final test for Amelia was to swim 2000m without touching the ground while giving hand signals to let her trainer know that she was ok, something that was to be repeated during the open water swim.

With training well on target and the specified distances completed Amelia's window of opportunity opened on June 16th. With late high tides due for that week it looked like it would be at least another week before she got the green light but as it turned out, on June 18th the wind dropped by 8pm, conditions were perfect and despite being a school night Amelia said tonight was the night.

After putting Vaseline on her face like a seasoned professional to keep the cold water from hurting she got a safety brief and recap from her trainer and off she went.

Once Amelia got around the first corner she was very comfortable and enjoying every minute of it, even though the same could not be said for her mother, who due to her nervous disposition about water was not told tonight was the night and was left in the company of friends back at the slipway.

With only some island grazing sheep, her trainer and some seagulls for company, her training had obviously paid off and she continued looking strong around the second and last corner when she got her first glimpse of the finish line. Taking everything in her stride Amelia cruised into the final 10m to the cheers of very impressed onlookers.

A huge congratulations to Amelia, a truly great achievement.

As her trainer noted, "I think we have created a monster, she has the bug now and only the beginning of Amelia's exploits".

Andrew Lockington