The importance of entering early for events…

It’s now mid-May and less than a fortnight to go before the first of the event of the Munster open water calendar, the Union Hall to Glandore Swim in West Cork. There are six swims on this calendar scheduled to go ahead in the next month alone! It’s a great sign that we have so many events on offer, however, these swims are in great danger of cancellation if they don’t reach a critical number of entries reasonably early…

I understand, of course, that swimmers are minding their pockets and don’t want to waste money entering a swim that they might be able to make (I am one of those swimmers) especially given the cost of some swims! I also understand that, early in the season when the water is cold, you might not be sure if you will even be able for the swim, and that you mightn’t be sure of other commitments in advance of the swim. These are all very understandable reasons for delaying entry, but I’d ask everyone to consider things from the event organiser’s point of view for a second.

Many of our events are organised by just one or two people. They organise events for the benefit of their fellow swimmers and most don’t gain anything by running the event. They all invest a huge amount of time and effort and some invest their own money into the event as well. A lot of effort goes in to organising logistics, safety cover, technical aspects and entertainment for the swim and this all hinges on having some idea of how many swimmers to expect on the day. In recent years, many organisers have been faced with the very difficult decision of cancelling a swim due to lack of entries.

Cancelling a swim means that those swimmers who have entered have, in many cases, lost their entry fees and that all of the organisers time, effort and money has been in vain. It means that bodies such as the Blackwater Sub-Aqua Club Search & Recovery Unit, the Bantry Inshore Search & Rescue Association and the RNLI, just to name a few, will lose out in a lot of cases. It’s a big disappointment to everyone involved.

Please, if you want to be able to continue to swim in great local events, enter as early as you can. This is your contribution to helping the event to be the best it can be! Here is a list of the next five events on the Munster open water calendar:

Union Hall to Glandore: Saturday, 25 May at 5:30 pm; 1.1 km swim across Glandore Harbour to open the season; current Swim Ireland competitive membership required; contact Liz Buckley for more information.

by The Active Network

Gaddin’ About Garnish: Saturday, 8 June at 6:30 pm; 1 km, 3 km and 5 km swims around Garnish Island in Glengarriff; open to all competent swimmers; more information available on the GaddinAbtGarnish website.

by The Active Network

Martin Duggan Memorial: Friday, 14 June at 7:30 pm; 2 km freshwater swim in the River Blackwater in Fermoy; current Swim Ireland competitive membership required; more information available on the Martin Duggan Memorial Swim website.

by The Active Network

Slip to Shore: Saturday, 15 June at 11:00 am; 1.9 km swim from Dromatoor Pier to Ballyheigue Beach in North Kerry; open to all competent swimmers; more information available on the Ballyheigue Slip to Shore Swim website.

RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay: Sunday, 16 June at 10:00 am; 2 km swim from Myrtleville to Church Bay in aid of the RNLI; open to all swimmers who have completed an open water swim of 1.5 km or more in 2013; all information and entry forms available on the Myrtleville Swimmers website.

Entries open for two great swims in June…

Promotion – Owen O'KeefeThis week entries opened for two great swims this June. On the evening of Friday, 14 June, the Martin Duggan Memorial Swim will take place over a 2 km course on the River Blackwater in Fermoy. This swim began as the Blackwater Swim in 1999 and, 10 years later, changed its name in memory of Martin Duggan, a local schoolboy who drowned tragically in the river on 12 July 2012. All information relating to entry criteria, etc., can be found on the event website (linked above). One aim of the swim has been to encourage people of all ages, but especially young people, to take part in open water swimming and learn to enjoy swimming outdoors in a way that is safe. Another aim of the swim is to show the people of Fermoy that our beautiful River Blackwater is not something to be feared and avoided, but rather something to be respected and enjoyed.

Photograph – George O'Keefe

The second wave of 2 km swimmers during the in-water start for the Martin Duggan Memorial Swim in 2010.

Any money left over after the all of the costs of running the event have been covered are donated to the Blackwater Sub-Aqua Club Search & Recovery Unit who are based here in Fermoy and who have provided great support for this swim over the last few years.

Another swim that supports its local water rescue services is the Myrtleville to Church Bay Swim which raises money for Crosshaven RNLI. This swim is also 2 km in length and is organised by the Myrtleville Swimmers. This year’s swim takes place on Sunday, 16 June and entry is through the Myrtleville Swimmers website (linked above).

Photograph – Myrtleville Swimmers

The crowd just before the start of the Church Bay Swim in 2012. I believe that I came third in this race, behind Chris Mintern and Ned Denison.

Despite the protracted winter and ever-elusive spring, their is a great sense of optimism about the 2013 open water season with some new events being created and existing events raising their profiles. Let’s hope it lives up to expectations!