Provisional date set for the Martin Duggan Memorial Swim 2013…

Image – Wikipedia

Crosóg Bríde | St. Brigid’s Cross

First of all, a happy Lá Fhéile Bríde – Saint Brigid’s Day – to everyone! Today, 1st February, is the feast day of St. Brigid and, traditionally, the first day of the Irish spring. The winter is pretty much over in Ireland by this day and this is what the festival originally celebrates, though it has been Christianised over the last millennium. There are some interesting traditions around the festival, including Féile na Brídeoige, but by far the most widely practiced is the making of the Crosóg Bríde or St. Brigid’s Cross from rushes. Irish schoolchildren are quite skilled in making these crosses but it’s a skill soon forgotten!

The Martin Duggan Memorial Swim is the only swimming event on the Blackwater. An annual swim has been held in the Blackwater at Fermoy since 1999. In 2009, the event was named the “Martin Duggan Memorial Swim” in memory of Martin Duggan Jnr., a fourteen-year-old boy who drowned in the Blackwater on 12th July 2007. This is a 2 km freshwater event and is open to all swimmers over the age of 12 years who have competitive membership of governing body-affiliated clubs. Wetsuits are permitted.

Logo – Owen O'Keefe

Friday, 14th June 2013 – Fermoy Rowing Club, Ashe Quay, Fermoy, Co. Cork

This year’s swim will be held on the evening of Friday, 14th June at Fermoy Rowing Club on Ashe Quay. There are a lot of works, including the construction of two new slipways, underway on the Quay but the event organisers are hopeful that these will be completed in time for the swim. More details are to come on this soon…

Entries will be taken through the event’s website and will be open well in advance of the swim. To keep up to date, keep an eye on the event’s website as well as it’s Facebook page and on Twitter @SwimBlackwater. All contact details for the event organisers are listed on the event’s website also.

Tá leagan Gaelainne de shuíomh idirlín na h-eachtra ar fáil chomh maith agus beidh gach píosa nuachta fén eachtra eisithe as Gaelainn agus as Béarla araon.

Sandycove Island SC at the CWSC in Tooting Bec

Logo – SLSCThere was a pretty big contingent from Sandycove Island SC at the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships in Tooting Bec Lido, South London last weekend. All of the Sandycove swimmers did us proud and came home with a total of four gold medals and one bronze medals for the Club. This meant that the Club came in second place overall, according to the ranking system used, ahead of the well-known Serpentine SC from Central London, headed by CS&PF President, Nick Adams! The “Goats” were surpassed only by hosts South London SC. Water temperatures for the event were never more than 2ºC and our swimmers did very well under these conditions. Some members of the Irish contingent also faired well in the “silly hat” competition. Well done, everyone!

All-Ireland Long Distance Swimming Party

Last Saturday night, the Grand Hotel on the banks of the Blackwater played host to the first All-Ireland Long Distance Swimming Party. Swimmers and administrators from both Sandycove Island SC and the ILDSA as well as “independents” assembled for what was a very successful evening…

As the crowd of over 100 guests gathered, the dining room was already adorned with fascinating swim charts from all over the world, including the English Channel, North Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Körös River (Hungary), Cook Strait, Catalina Channel and Lake Zurich, and photographs from some of the highlights of the last 50 years of Irish long distance swimming. While guests were seated and waiting for their food, North Channel pilot Brian Meharg MBE gave a very interesting and humorous presentation on the life of an historic figure in marathon swimming, Mercedes Gleitze.

After dinner, Ned Denison began his annual 10+ km announcements by calling us to remember Páraic Casey and Owen Hughes and let them know that we missed them. He went on to welcome distinguished guests including radio presenter Marcus Connaughton of RTÉ Radio 1’s maritime programme “Seascapes”, long distance swimming pioneer Kieran Fitzgerald and renowned swimming administrator Martin Cullen, among others. Ned then introduced all three of Ireland’s Triple Crown swimmers (Eddie Irwin, Gábor Molnár and himself) and all of those who had done 10+ km swims this year – there were too many for me to mention here!

Before finishing, Ned presented the ILDSA with their certificate from IMSHOF, where they were indicted in absentia this year. Billy Wallace, President of the ILDSA, accepted the certificate from Ned and gave a very fine speech in which he paid tribute to all of the swimmers and everyone else involved in the sport who had helped make 2012 the spectacular year that it was for Irish open water swimming.

Ice swimmer Nuala Moore of Dingle, Co. Kerry then took aver and introduced all of the winners and runners up of the ILDSA Awards 2012. They were as follows:

  • Special Achievement: Stephen Redmond (Cork) for his historic success in becoming the first person to complete the Oceans Seven challenge.
  • Female Swimmer of the Year: Fionnuala Walsh (Clare) for her courage in determination returning to Dover to complete her English Channel solo swim, her original attempt having been abandoned just 200 m from France in thick fog.
  • Male Swimmer of the Year: Tom Healy (Dublin) for his outstanding performance in completing his English Channel solo swim in a time of 9 hours 51 minutes, breaking the previous Irish record of 10 hours 19 minutes.
  • Juvenile Swimmer of the Year: Ellen Brooks (Cork) for her consistent performances in the Martin Duggan Memorial Swim, the “Edge Sports” Sandycove Island Challenge and the Sherkin Island to Baltimore Swim.
  • Juvenile Performance of the Year: Conor Turner (Dublin) for his amazing swim of 59 minutes 15 seconds in the 5 km Camlough race.
  • Leinster Swimmer of the Year: Paul Manning (Dublin)
  • Margaret Smith Award: Owen O’Keefe (Cork)
  • Best Event: 10 km Camlough (Armagh) & 10 km Lough Gill (Sligo)
  • Best Senior Newcomer: Ger Kennedy (Wicklow)
  • Best Junior Newcomer: Jon Glover (Down)
  • Spirit of Swimming Award: Myles McCourt (Down)

Adrian McGreevy of Amphibia kindly donated donated two of his famous sports bags for the ILDSA to present to anyone they wished. The first went to Ned Denison in recognition of his outstanding contribution to open water swimming. Ned’s has an infectious enthusiasm for our sport and, without him, we would not be where we are today. Thanks you, Ned! The second went to Chris Bryan of Ennis, Co. Clare who has represented Ireland all over the world on the professional open water circuit. He came 8th in the World Championships in Shanghai, just 11 seconds behind the winner, Olympic silver medalist Thomas Lurz of Germany, and he missed out on a place at London 2012 by just 0.01 seconds and a dubious political decision on the part of FINA. We are sure to see more amazing performances from Chris and wish him the very best of luck in qualifying for Rio 2016, we know he will do us proud!

Finally, the very impressive personalised ILDSA English Channel medals were presented to all of those present who had completed English Channel solo and relay swims this year.

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On a personal note, I would like to thanks Ned Denison, Stephen Millar and Nuala Moore who helped me enormously in making the night a success. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves immensely and we are all looking forward to this becoming an annual event, rotating around the island of Ireland…

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