ILDSA Awards and HoF-MSI Inductions

This Sunday, 11th March 2018, will be an important day in the Irish open water swimming calendar, a day to acknowledge the achievements of swimmers and contributors during the 2017 season as well as to honour the lifetime achievements of members of the Irish open water swimming community. We will mark these at the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association‘s (ILDSA) Annual Awards and the inaugural induction ceremony of the Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland (HoF-MSI), which will be held at the Waterside House Hotel near Donabate in Fingal (North County Dublin), a fitting location on the edge of the Irish sea and looking out at Lambay Island.

After lunch in the Lambay Suite, the awards and induction ceremonies will get underway. To get things started, there will be a welcome address by the Deputy Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Adrian Henchy (FF), after which I will take over as master of ceremonies for the rest of the afternoon. The fact that I’ve been trusted with this duty surely means that I didn’t do too bad a job when I hosted the awards in 2012!

First will be the presentation of medals to all swimmers born or resident on the island of Ireland who successfully completed English Channel crossings in 2017. Carol Finlay, Participation Officer of Swim Ireland, and Maggie Purcell, President of Swim Ireland, will present the medals for solo and relay swims, respectively. Medals will then be presented to all swimmers who successfully completed North Channel Swims in 2017, with medals for solo swims being presented by Billy Wallace, President of the ILDSA, and medals for relay swims being presented by Cllr Henchy and Eoin Gaffney of Leinster Open Sea.

Following the presentation of the English Channel and North Channel medals, we will move on to the presentation of the ILDSA Awards for the 2017 season, which will be presented by Maggie Purcell, President of Swim Ireland. The following is a list of the awards that will be presented:

Between the various medal and award presentations, four speakers will offer us unique insights into different challenges in our sport. Wes Nolan, Ion Lazarenco and Ned Denison will offer us a swimmer’s perspective, while veteran North Channel pilot Brian Meharg MBE will give us a pilot’s slant on things.

The final part of the proceedings will be a very special event: the inaugural induction ceremony of the HoF-MSI. The Class of 2018 will be inducted by Billy Wallace and Ned Denison, who are both Honorees of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Classes of 1999 and 2012, respectively). The Honour Swimmers and Contributors that will be inducted are:

Just in case that wasn’t enough silverware for everybody, there will be one final presentation. The afternoon’s ceremonies will close with the presentation of a “Special Award”, about which I know precisely naught, so I am sure that we will all be eager to find out whom its recipient will be and wherefore…


  1. Places for the lunch and awards can be booked here.
  2. For those traveling by public transport, there will be a shuttle bus service from Dublin City Centre to the venue and back again.

On the home stretch!

Artigo em português

Only 36 days to go?! Really?! How?!

All of a sudden, the swallows have disappeared, the summer is a distant memory and I’m in the final phase of my training for Leme to Pontal. My last open water training swim in Ireland was a 2 km dash in and out of the sea in Myrtleville on the October bank holiday and I’m now full-time in the full for the final push.

Myrtleville 20171030

Myrtleville on the morning of my last non-wetsuited open water swim in Ireland for the year.

With the goal that I’ve been working (and, at times, struggling) towards in sight, it’s become much easier to train. Getting up early to go for my pre-work pool session no longer requires discipline; it just happens, automatically; panic gets me up and out before I even get to think about taking a lazy morning. There’s nothing like a deadline!

This week and next week, I am doing big-ish metres in the pool, and then I will start tapering down for the big event…

No trecho final do treinamento!

Article in English

Só faltam 36 dias?! É assim mesmo?! Mas como?!

De repente, as aves do verão estão de volta à África, os dias longos e treinos no mar acabaram e estou na fase final do meu treinamento para a travessia do Leme ao Pontal. Já fiz meu último treino no mar (sem neoprene) na Irlanda: foi uma sessão rapidinha de 2 km em Myrtleville na última segunda-feira de outubro (que é feriado aqui). Agora estou dando o esforço final antes da grande travessia.

Myrtleville 20171030

A praia de Myrtleville na manhã em que fiz meu último treino no mar na Irlanda de 2017.

Com a meta para qual eu tenho trabalhado (e, às vezes, batalhado) em vista, ficou bem mais fácil treinar. Acordando cedo de manhã para ir à piscina e fazer minha sessão de natação antes de ir ao escritório não precisa mais de discipina; simplesmente acontece, automaticamente; o pânico me levanta e me manda embora antes que eu possa sequer pensar em tirar uma manhã de folga. Não há nada igual a um prazo, né!

Esta semana e a que vem, estou fazendo uma boa quilometragem na piscina. Depois eu vou começar a reduzir aos poucos a intensidade do treinamento, na expectativa de estar pronto para a tentativa no dia 16 de dezembro…

Last chance to enter the Great Blackwater Swim

In my last post, I talked about a trial swim from Castlehyde to Fermoy by Blackwater Triathlon Club. If you liked the sound of the swim and can make it to Fermoy this Sunday, 27th August, you can try it for yourself! The club has decided to run the swim as “The Great Blackwater Swim” and in aid of Fermoy Lions Club. Entry costs €16.55 (including transaction fee) and is available at this link. Here’s an overview of the course:

The Blackwater is catching!

I’ve always been passionate about “the Irish Rhine”, Munster’s Great River, the Blackwater. I’m proud to know it so intimately, having swum every inch of it between Ballyhooly and the sea (the bottom 70 km of its 170 km course). The Blackwater Valley is truly stunning: with breathtaking scenery around every corner, and peace. Exploring it at a swimmer’s pace is a great way of appreciating, and from a unique angle. It’s a shame that, until recently, I was one of very few people to have experienced this, so I’m delighted that members of Blackwater Triathlon Club have started pushing out their distances in the water and are making good use of the beautiful river on our doorstep! Over the last two weekends, they started catching the bug…

Cregg/Castlehyde to Fermoy Rowing Club

The first swim, from just upstream of Castlehyde House to Fermoy Rowing Club, a distance of about 4 km, was last Monday morning. Dave Mulcahy, Declan O’Keeffe and I had been doing this swim once a year for the last few years, but this was the first time that a decent-sized group took on the challenge…


Setting off in dribs and drabs from the riverbank just upstream from Castlehyde.

The swim was a great opportunity for many to challenge themselves with their longest swim to date, which it was for most of the 15 swimmers who completed it. It was also a good opportunity for my boyfriend, Wagner, to get to grips with kayaking for a bigger group of swimmers, which it turns out mightn’t be as tough as listening to them talking about swimming!


Wagner getting used to the kayak…and listening to swimmers talking about swimming!

The swim was thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part, so much so that the possibility of an organised event is on the cards for next year, though maybe starting just below the fast water…

Blackwater Sub-aqua Club to Clondullane

The second swim took place last Sunday. It was a little longer, at 5 km, but seven dedicated swimmers took up the challenge (that number would likely have been higher had Cork not been playing Waterford in hurling at the same time). We had plenty of safety back-up for this swim, with Wagner kayaking again, as well as Declan’s daughter Anna and one other also kayaking, and Iain MacCallum accompanying us in a boat. Again, all completed the swim and are looking forward to doing it again!

foto (2)

Assembling on the Blackwater Sub-aqua Club slipway, just downstream of the town.

What’s next?

Now that appetites have been wet for longer swims in the river, we may be able to get a group to try out the 7 km from Cappoquin to Villierstown, in the tidal reach of the Blackwater. From there, who knows, let’s hope that it’s just the start of great long-distance swimming culture on our great river!

Getting there…

Once again, I’ve been very slow to update the blog – no surprises there! I could try using our recent house move as an excuse, but really it’s just one of those things that can always be done “tomorrow”. Anyway, here’s a quick update on progress towards my Leme to Pontal swim since my last post

The first major block of pool training has come to an end and I finally feel like I have successfully relearned how to swim. It felt great being back to early-morning pool swims in Meadowbrook before work, getting some metres in the shoulders and knocking off some of those excess seconds that built up during my year off – though it’s never going to be the same as those hard yards with great teammates in Fermoy Swimming Club. I’m down to just ticking over in the pool now while I’m doing most of the work in the open water, but there will be some big sessions to come once the open water “season” (I have to be careful using that word in front of the hard-core winter swimmers) winds down and before leaving for Brazil.

Lion's Mane Jellyfish, Cyanea capillata

One of the main reasons why I don’t swim in the sea in Dublin a whole lot…

Since May, I’ve been working on endurance in the open water. Although I live in Dublin and have done a few longer swims there, my aversion to lion’s-mane jellies and love for swimming on the south coast have meant that most of my training has been done at home. I built up the distance at first in the River Blackwater and Knockananig Reservoir in Fermoy, swimming with Dave Mulcahy and also on my own. Once the sea warmed up a bit, I shed the wetsuit and started doing slightly longer swims with Carol Cashell in Myrtleville and Cork Harbour and with Donal Buckley, a.k.a. “Lone Swimmer”, on the Copper Coast in County Waterford, as well as doing a few other swims along the coast of County Cork, including at Sandycove Island and Ballycotton.

6h swim

Steady 3.6 km/h for 6 h!

The highlight of my training so far though has to be the Cork Distance Week organised by Ned Denison. The camp was based around Sandycove Island but included swims in Loch Allua in the Lee Valley, Myrtleville, the River Blackwater in Fermoy, Lough Hyne between Skibbereen and Baltimore, Inniscarra Reservoir, and Boatstrand on the Copper Coast, as well as some purely social events. There was also a 6-hour swim at Sandycove on the last day of the camp (which I successfully completed in order to qualify for my Leme to Pontal swim attempt). The camp was a tough but fantastic week of swimming in great company and beautiful places, and worthy of its own post – at some point, I might even get around to writing that up and posting a few pictures!

Lee Swim 2017

A selection of photos from the “Vibes & Scribes” Lee Swim 2017 taken by George O’Keefe.

I’ve also finally done my first race of the summer, my tenth “Vibes & Scribes” Lee Swim, which starts near the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (where I spent a lot of my time whilst I was studying at University College Cork) and carries on down the North Channel of the River Lee, around Custom House Quay, and finishes at Clontarf Bridge. It was a bit of a shock to the system being back in a proper race, but it was good fun battling with Lizzie Lee for the best draft off Ned Denison, and even being pushed off course by Ned for making the mistake of trying to sneak past him on his blind side just before the finish… Enjoy that victory, Ned, I don’t intend to leave you have any more like that for a while!

That’s it for now. There won’t be such a long delay until the next post, hopefully…

Deireadh an Fhómhair Linn

Is soiléir fén dtaca so go bhfuil an samhradh imthithe slán uainn. Ní’l aon amharc ar na fáinleoga anso i Mainistir Fhear Maí, cé go dtuigtear dom go bhfuil roinnt díobh fós le feiscint thiar i gCiarraí. Le cúpla lá anuas, tá gálaí gaoithe is ceathanna uafásacha istoíche agus gan ach fo-radharc ar an ngréin isló. Tá na tráthnónta ag éirí níos giorra de réir a chéile agus beidh an oíche níos sia ná an lá gan ró-mhoill. Tá an geimhreadh ag teacht, ní’l aon dabht fén spéir faoi!

Dá bharr san, táim thar n-ais ins an linn snámha don chuid is mó agus ní’l fonn dá laghad orm bheith istigh ins an Abhainn Mhóir nó ins an lochán ar Chnoc an Aonaigh nó ins an bhfairrge fiú. Ag an am gcéanna, táim thar n-ais ag an ollscoil ag tosnú mo thríú bliana ann ag déanamh céim san eiceolaíocht. Maidin Chéadaoin, bíonn sé de nós agam dul isteach chuig an linn snámha ins an Muirdíg agus bualadh le Lisa Cummins i gcomhair caife i ndiaidh san – comhartha maith go bhfuil sé ‘na gheimhreadh againn! An tseachtain seo, do tháinig aoi speisialta im’ theannta: Tara Diversi ón Astráil… Do bhí maidin (is tráthnóinín) ana-dheas ag an dtriúir againn ag ráiméis fé gach aon tsaghas ruda a bhaineann leis an snámh fén aer. Bail ó Dhia ar bhuachaill-chara Tara go raibh air éisteacht linn!

Sin é an scéal mar atá sé fén dtráth so. Ní’l mórán eile le rá agam, i ndá ríribh, ach go bhfuil an-chuid obair le déanamh agam maidir le cúrsaí oideachais! Táimíd ag tnúth le rás deireanach an tséasúir ó Inis Earcáin go Dún na Séad an deireadh seachtaine seo chugainn agus go mór mhór le Comhdháil Dhomhanda an tSnámha fén Aer a bheidh á reachtáil i gCorcaigh an deireadh seachtaine dar gcionn. Sin é go fóillín…

Ailt Bhainteacha: