Roisins Swims from Clare to Galway
Galway Bay always looks different. At 0645 on Saturday morning (25/7/15) it was as calm as I'd ever seen it. Our first wave of swimmers (solo and relay) got the bus to Aughinish in Co Clare. The nerves were plentiful.
On the beach we answer a roll call, and start getting ready. Every open water swimmer I know recognises what people say next when you are doing the final checks and greasing up (lanolin / vaseline - it's your only man!). As you get ready and are chatting to whomever is next to you, suddenly the volume is raised, and as clear as can be over all the chats, someone gasps "IN YOUR TOGS?"
Yep, in my togs! I've only swam in a wetsuit once, and only because I had gotten burnt to a crisp. It's not for me. Too much gear to mind, smelly wetsuits doesn't appeal, but the reality is that I love the feel of the water. It's like no other feeling getting into your stroke after the first usually chilly minutes. The same stretch of coastline will look and act different every time you swim in it.
A few more photos and we were off. The shoreline was like a submerged forest, with too many jellyfish for my liking. Our brief was to swim approximately 2 km to meet our escort boat. I started swimming, only to find that it then got too shallow to swim. This broke the ice of the nerves, we all stood up and walked about another 100 metres, and then we were off again. I swam towards America for a while, but then got myself back on track.
At 2km I meet my boat, the Isle of Aran, in gorgeous Galway colours, Tommy my captain waving a Galway flag, Diarmuid the first mate, and Úna Ryan appeared delighted to (finally) see me.
And so the real swimming began. I had thought that I would freeze, it was glorious. I also was fearful about the distance. My longest swim in Irish waters to that time was nearer 8km, so crossing the distance had played on my mind. I loved it. The water was amazing, the sun shone, and next land was Galway!
I stopped for gels and fluids (probably not enough in hindsight). I stopped when my crew let a shout at me (my captain knew how to shout at a swimmer, Úna and Diarmuid had to be shown).
Three and a half hours in and I was in my element. I spent the time thinking of what my amazing mum would make for dinner, what other swims I'd do, how lucky I had accidentally found open water swimming (knee injury + pool + my sister Mar). I've been told that swimming is meditation for people who can't keep still. I like that!
It did get hard, there was work involved. I had irritated my shoulder the previous week, so the final portion of my swim was painful. I got through it stroke by stroke. Leading up to the swim I worried about not being able to cross the bay. That never occurred to me in the water.
Swimming into Blackrock was incredible. I hope I get to do it again next year!
Huge thanks are due to everyone who sponsored me to support the Frances Thornton Memorial Swim in aid of Cancer Care West, my many swimming buddies, my pool gang, my fab Dublin Swimming Club friends, Tommy and Diarmuid on the beautiful Isle of Aran boat, Úna for being a superstar, my entire family for the love and support, and my amazing parents.
Dublin Race in Killiney 2015
Dublin Swimming Club held their annual race at Killiney on July 12, 2015. Conditions were almost flat calm, in contrast to the previous day, when another race was held there in choppy waters. 117 men and 86 women took part in the races. Leading them home in the men’s was Karl Wilkes of North Dublin, second was Shay Dillon of Guinness and the first Dublin swimmer home was Jody Clarke in third, with Paul Nolan close behind in fifth. The team prize was won by NAC, with Dublin coming second.
Joan Delaney of Phoenix took the women’s title followed closely by Dublin member Julie Anne Somers – last year’s winner. Tiffany Quinn from Dublin was fourth and Dublin ladies also won the team prize.
This had been the third of three races over the course of the weekend, so there were lots of team points at stake. Dublin ladies currently lead while Dublin men are now in third place. In the swimmer of the year league, Dublin legend Claire or Dwyer has opened up a 4 point lead, while in the men’s, Niall O’Sullivan has moved up to fifth.
Dublin swimming club is the oldest swimming club in Ireland, having been established in 1881. The race today was one of 28 taking place over the course of the summer under the auspices of the Leinster Open Sea Committee, culminating in the Liffey swim on September 19.
HUGE well done to Keith Butler today from Dublin SC at the Windsurfers Race, and to the Dublin men for the team win - Keith (1st), Jody (8th), Niall (15th) and Dermot (21st). Not forgetting Elena in the ladies who came in 10th. LOTS of team members out, so great day overall for the club!
There was a nice symmetry to Keith's result as it was the Special Olympics Charity race and Keith will soon be representing Ireland at the Special Olympics World Games in both open water and pool competition. Keith has been a member of Dublin SC for many years, having joined as a junior. See also link for more
Great first swims also from Jack and Brendan and for Jenny in only her second race being well up the field.