THE long distance open water swimming season came to a close recently with the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association’s Annual Awards.
The Fastnet Swim – a swim either from the Fastnet Rock to Baltimore or vice-versa – formed a big part of the ceremony, where marathon swims from the last year are celebrated.
According to Noel Browne, the Fastnet Swim is now part of an Irish Triple Crown of swims, which also includes the North Channel and Galway Bay Swims.
This, he said, is helping to get the swim to a much bigger audience of national and international swimmers.
Noel Browne and Nathan Timmins, organisers of the swim, presented a special Rynhart plaque and custom chart of the swimmers’ routes to all who completed the Fastnet Swim this year.
The occasion was also marked by the selection of five new inductees to the Irish Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
Among the five were Noel Browne – in recognition of his years of dedication to marathon swimming, as well as his dedicated efforts in crewing for people and organising long distance swims.
Swim organiser Kevin Williams and swimmers Finbarr Headerman, Elaine Burrows Dillane and Rosie Foley, were also inducted.
Rosie, who is well known in swimming and rugby circles recently visited Baltimore to give a talk with Stephen Redmond in support of the community run Wild Atlantic Pool.
These five now join Stephen Redmond and all previous inductees in the Hall of Fame.
Long distance swimming is growing hugely in Ireland, and the Fastnet Swim and in particular swims like Stephen Redmond’s attempt to swim Baltimore-Fastnet-Mizen Head showcase what a wonderful coastline we have for these challenges.
These swims not only push the swimmers to their limits but also have been raising vital funds for local charities. Steve Redmond’s swim in aid of Marymount and Olga O’Sullivan’s swim in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation have raised in the region of €8,000 and €11,000 respectively.
With swimming growing so much, the campaign to keep the Wild Atlantic Pool open has been a great success story.
Master swimming lessons run by Nathan Timmins along with one-to-one coaching sessions are helping swimmers of all abilities to improve and set new goals for the coming year.
The Tuesday night synchronised swimming group has been bringing great fun and laughter to the pool and people are expecting some great moves in Lough Hyne for the summer.
Events like the Tragumna Island swim and Baltimore Wet Weekend provide safe events locally for swimmers to get a taste of Open water Swimming.
These are charity events run in aid of, and with the support, of the Wild Atlantic pool. This year along with rising vital money for the Pool, €6,000 was raised in aid of the Irish Community Air Ambulance and The West Cork Rapid Response through the Tragumna Island Swim.