A Carnoustie teenager has become the youngest person to swim across one of the world’s biggest whirlpools, but his record doesn’t count because he is too young!
On Sunday, Matthew Michie (15) was among a group of daredevils who swam across the Gulf of Corryvreckan, between Jura and Scarba, the world’s third largest whirlpool.
Timing is everything as there is only a 45-minute window each day when the whirlpool tides have calmed from their 16mph to a more suitable speed for swimming.
On arrival his epic challenge was given a dramatic frame as the weather seemed uncooperative. Matthew explained: “When we got there it was thunder and lightning and torrential rain and everything! We weren’t sure if it was going to go ahead and then the guide appeared.
“When we got out there we had to wait for the tide to stop so it was slack water to allow us to swim across.
“There were lots of jellyfish, big and small ones, and dolphins, it was really bizarre. You could feel the current underneath and you weren’t sure if you were going in a straight line, you just had to keep swimming.
“It was cold, but I wasn’t tired, I felt like I could keep going. It was freezing though, it was 12 degrees, and although that doesn’t sound too bad, when you’re in it for half an hour it is very cold.”
According to Matthew, it was not a case of simply swimming straight across the centre but aiming slightly off centre for the duration of the 1.5km swim which took him just 25 minutes to finish.
But it looks as though Matthew will have to repeat the feat next year when he turns 16 if he wants the record to be official. He said: “I did it for the challenge. I’m the youngest person in the world to have done it but the Guinness World Record won’t recognise me, they say I’m too young to do extreme sports, so I will have to do it again next year for the record to be official.”
Tomorrow (Saturday) Matthew takes to the waves again when he defends his junior boys’ course record in the open water Discovery Mile in Dundee.