Reported in the News Letter on September 6, 1958: Ulster swimmer completes trial run ahead of North Channel bid

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Jack McClelland, the Ulster long-distance swimmer who is training for his attempt later this month on the North Channel, yesterday completed the first of a number of trial swims in conditions as near as possible to those he expects to encounter on the crossing.

His one-and-quarter-hour swim yesterday took McClelland almost to Mew Island [part of the Copeland Islands, north of Donaghadee], more than three miles from his starting point at Orlock Head.

Today the swimmer will cross the channel in the boat of his pilot, Mr John Watterson, of Groomsport, and will be put into the water to swim four miles off Portpatrick.

McClelland’s attempt to swim the channel, which has been conquered only by the Englishman, Tom Blower, is now planned to take place on either September 21 or 22, but should the weather be unsuitable on both days the latest date for an attempt this year is October 7.

Following his successful crossing of Belfast Lough from Carrick to Bangor last week, McClelland has decided to swim the lough next Saturday [September 13] from Whitehead to Bangor.