MORE than 200 people enjoyed a wet weekend in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Sherkin Island Swim.
Skibbereen-based marathon swimmers, Noel Browne and Steve Black, put the word out that it was going to be a major event and swimmers from all over the country and the UK responded enthusiastically turning up on Saturday, September 30th for the 2k crossing from Sherkin Island to Baltimore.
The group gathered on Friday night for a baptism of sorts – a 400m night swim at Lough Hyne, followed by a visit to the Síbín bar and restaurant at Rath for soup and sandwiches, before moving on to Bushe’s in Baltimore.
The event on Saturday started at 1pm and it was, according to Noel, ‘an impressive sight to see so many swimmers line up at the slipway on Sherkin Island and take the plunge in aid of the Wild Atlantic Pool in Baltimore.’
The pool is of huge significance to wild swimmers from all over West Cork because they use it regularly for training purposes, despite the fact that none of them are adverse to swimming in the frigid waters in Lough Hyne during the winter months.
‘The story of how the pool was saved from closure by a community group is nothing short of heroic,’ said Noel, ‘so it is good to support it on an ongoing basis.’
This year alone the sum of €10,000, will be donated to the committee for the ongoing maintenance of the pool.
The Wild Atlantic Pool is also set to benefit from the proceeds of the Spanish Island swim – an island that is also in Baltimore Harbour – on October 14th next.
‘I know it was our 20th anniversary, but the turn out this year exceeded all expectations.
‘The turnout is also an indication of the growing popularity of open water swimming,’ said Noel, who thanked the West Cork Kayaking Club for providing cover for both the night swim and the Sherkin to Baltimore swim – a swim that was completed in times that varied between 30 to 90 minutes.