Words by Maureen McCoy & photos by Paul McCambridge
I first met Sabrina in September 2015 at the Copeland Islands swim, where she was the first
swimmer into Donaghadee Harbour after the choppy but fun 3km plus swim. The event that year
was in memory of my late friend, Sheena Paterson who loved the swim between the island and
harbour and I know Sheena would have been delighted that a woman won it!
Some weeks later, on a trip to sunny Dublin, Sabrina met with me at Bull Island for a swim interview.
I’d never been there before and we were lucky to be blessed with glorious weather so late in the
season. As we prepared for our dip looking across the bay towards Dublin Port and the Poolbeg
chimneys dominating the skyline, Sabrina and I chatted about her swimming history. In her native
Switzerland Sabrina was a 50m Back Stroke swimmer – quite a change to then become a long
distance Front crawl swimmer. Shoulder injuries prompted Sabrina to give up the sprint Back Stroke
but her love of swimming pushed her on and she told me how, since changing to Front Crawl, her
shoulders have been fine.
Sabrina said she tried sea swimming, and despite still being a little scared of what might be in the
sea with her, she loves it. She joked that sometimes she closes her eyes so she won’t see the fish.
Since Sabrina came to live and work in Ireland and joined the “Irish sea swimming family” she has
never looked back and continues to find new friends throughout the country.
As we carefully walked down the bank of steps into the sea we talked about the ice mile, “I don’t
know how many ice miles I actually swam before the event. I went home to Switzerland and trained
in the lake almost every day, it became easier!” Even with her record of achievements in long
distance swimming, when Sabrina applied to enter the Lake Zuric marathon event, she didn’t get in.
“I’m told people rarely get in on their first application, hopefully next year!”
Sabrina has certainly started 2016 off in a positive mode; well done, Sabrina in your latest feat of
matching the world record fastest female to swim a kilometre in 13minutes 58seconds, in water
temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius!
And the best of luck for the rest of the year!