John, who finished ninth in Saturday’s event, couldn’t swim two months ago Eight weeks ago John McDermott couldn’t swim and had a fear of water.
He had never in his life been in a swimming pool. At the seaside, he wouldn’t let the water rise above his ankles.
But the 36-year-old from Strabane, County Tyrone, a keen runner and cyclist, had a burning desire to compete in a triathlon – a sport which combines swimming, cycling and running.
To do that he’d need to challenge himself to overcome his fear.
On 14 June, he entered a swimming pool for the first time in his life.
"I signed up to the triathlon nine weeks out, my first [swimming] lesson was the following week," John told BBC Radio Foyle.
He had two months to learn to swim.Last Saturday, he completed his debut triathlon, including a 350-metres open-water swim, finishing ninth in the Omagh Try A Tri event at Loughmacrory."I am still on a high," he said."It sounds weird to say but I felt so proud of myself. It is the biggest thing I have overcome." John’s daughters Fiadh and Meabh are "very proud" of their daddy According to official figures, swimming is the most popular sport for adults in Northern Ireland but the thought of diving in can fill many people with dread.As many as one in every four adults in the UK struggles to swim for 25m (82ft) unaided, with many having been put off learning by a bad experience or a lifelong fear […]