Last Monday night swim for 2012

A small, hardy group turned up for the last Monday evening swim before the clocks go back next weekend – L to R: Bernard Lynch, James Slowey, John Russell, Damian O’Neill & Rebeca Power.  Clocks go forward on March 31, so see you all on Monday, April 1st, 2013 (no, I’m not joking…..).  Of course, Saturdays at 8.00 a.m. continue and with the extra hour of light in the mornings, it’ll be like Summer all over again!

Last Monday night Myrtleville swims:  22 October, 2012

Last Monday night Myrtleville swim: 22 October, 2012

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Tom McCarthy – Channel Relay swim

Tom McCarthy at Varne Ridge

Tom McCarthy at Varne Ridge

Tom McCarthy is a Myrtleville regular and a great help to all the swimmers there and throughout Cork.  He is always happy to share his unique, vast knowledge of the sea and often volunteers to provide expert safety cover for events.  Last July, Tom was a late addition to a relay team swimming the English Channel and as would be expected by all who know him, he performed brilliantly.  One member of the team, Sue Oldham (the oldest woman to swim the English Channel solo) wrote a lovely account of Tom’s involvement in the team and we’re delighted to post it here:

Sue Oldham:  “As a background and due to ill health two of our original four man relay team had to pull out – Tony Parbery who had swum in the 2006 oldest relay team and did his solo swim in 2008 and Les Stewart at 76 and also a member of the 2006 relay team.  We had been very fortunate that when Tony withdrew Roger Allsopp the oldest person to solo swim the channel agreed to join Kathy Phillips from Perth and myself.   When Les withdrew Tom agreed to join us.

Barracuda Aquaholics team of Kathy, Roger, Sue & Tom on the beach at Dover prior to 2012 relay swim

Barracuda Aquaholics team of Kathy, Roger, Sue & Tom on the beach at Dover prior to 2012 relay swim

From the very first Tom became a firm friend, delighted to join our Aquaholics relay team and experience his first challenge at the English Channel.  Kathy and I regarded ourselves very fortunate that our relay team consisted of Roger Allsopp and Tom and immediately the four of us joined forces, training together in Dover Harbour.  Swimming the English Channel is regarded as the Everest of open water swimming and this was Kathy and Tom’s first experience although neither Roger nor I regarded this crossing as something to be undertaken lightly.

At our first training session in Dover Harbour our coach Pauline Pratt was immediately delighted by Tom’s breaststroke,  recognising it as near perfect (more so when she discovered he had not had any professional coaching).

We met down at Dover Harbour in the early hours of July 22nd on a cold and windy morning and once all gear and supplies were loaded onto Anastasia, our pilot, Eddie Spelling, took us around to Samphire Hoe for our start.  Pauline nominated the order of the relay as Roger to start, followed by Kathy, Tom and myself.  In that order we would swim in a one hour rotation until we reached the shores of France.  Tom of course immediately established himself as the experienced sailor he is and when it was his turn to jump into the cold, dark ocean he was quite at home.  Some of us suffered mild cases of hypothermia (although not Tom) but eventually as the hours slid by the sun came up displaying a glorious sunrise, we gradually warmed up and the sea calmed down.  After ten hours or more and with the coast of France in sight, the sea lost its glassiness, with the light breeze picking up enough to ensure we would all have to swim another round, making it four each (although as last swimmer mine was only a fraction of the hour) we gradually and slowly swam our way onto the French coast.

Tom was a wonderful team member, he enjoyed each and everyone of his turns, swimming strongly every time and finding the cold water quite exhilarating.  As Tom’s last hour-long swim didn’t quite make the French coast I had the privilege of taking us in with Tom continuing to swim in behind me finishing on 23rd July in an official time of 15 hours 3 minutes.

Tom McCarthy during one of his relay legs

Tom McCarthy during one of his relay legs

What can I say, Tom is a great chap, a good friend and team mate who was always ready to give a helping hand.  I dont know if we will make the records as the oldest four man relay team to swim the Channel with an average of 64, but with a team comprising of two world record holders, Kathy who swam well and with great determination despite suffering badly from the cold and Tom McCarthy as our secret weapon who impressed us all with his strong and steady breaststroke.  I would love to see him trying for a solo crossing, he has the ability and tenacity to achieve it and should he ever consider another relay crossing I would quickly put my hand up to be on his team.

As always, be it a relay or a solo swim, accolades must go to the skipper Eddie Spelling and his crew, our coach Pauline Pratt, the tireless support of assistant Tony Parbery and to our observers. ”  Sue Oldham, 14 Oct, 2012.

Barracuda Aquaholics Relay team route 23 July, 2012

Barracuda Aquaholics Relay team route 23 July, 2012

Roches Point to Myrtleville swim – 6 October, 2012

Before we post Ned Denison’s swim report, Bernard Lynch and Damian O’Neill have to say we were delighted to be asked to – quote – “play with the Big Boys” last Saturday.  Thanks, Ned….

Bernard & Damian with Ned "one of the Big Boys" Denison

Bernard & Damian with Ned “one of the Big Boys” Denison

Swim Report by Ned Denison – pictures by Carol Cashell, Frank Lynch, Kieran O’Sullivan and Donal Buckley:
This morning before 8am, the air temperature was 5C and the ground felt colder in bare feet.
Sunrise at Myrtleville

Sunrise at Myrtleville

Safety boats arriving at sunrise

Safety boats arriving at sunrise

9 swimmers waded out to two ribs and then tried to bundle up in jackets to stay warm.  Off then from Myrtleville towards Roches Point

Boat 2 ready to go

Boat 2 ready to go

The Port of Cork approved the safety plan in advance – it was based on the most experienced marathon swimmers only being invited (Channel soloer and 3 Myrtleville 2012 marathoners). We were well served by 6 great volunteers:  Tom McCarthy and Billy Kelleher in Boat 1. Tom and Frank Lynch plus Dominic Baxter in Boat 2. Kieran O’Sullivan coordinating beach activities…and ready for possible transport if needed.
Tom Lynch, Frank Lynch, Bernard Lynch & Dominic Baxter

Tom Lynch, Frank Lynch, Bernard Lynch & Dominic Baxter.

Tom McCarthy & Billy Kelleher: the Safety Men

Tom McCarthy & Billy Kelleher: the Safety Men

These kinds of swims do not happen without volunteers – so, many thanks folks.  The swimmers made a donation each to the RNLI.

Waiting for the Tanker to pass at Roches Point.

Waiting for the Tanker to pass at Roches Point.

We needed to wait at Roches Point while a tanker passed by and then the first 6 set off.  Five minute later three more set off.  The plan was for the swimmers to “meetish” in the middle of the shipping channel – to give the safety boats the maximum flexibility in case the port needed us out.  It was about 1 hour before high water and we expected a tiny push in towards the harbour.
Ready to go at Roches Point

Ready to go at Roches Point

The first group either got caught immediately in an eddy and headed out to sea or Bernard Lynch lead them on a current beating line.  Discussion continues on this subject…. The second group headed toward the red buoy (1k out) toward Church Bay….and certainly had a long angle back to Myrtleville.
Just missed the ferry!.

Just missed the ferry!.

While Finbarr, upon hitting the water, declared it to be toasty,,,,,nobody else confirmed his view.  It was 11 to 13 C from the watches and boat instruments.
All made it safety and we were unexpectedly greeted by Lisa Cummins and Riana Parsons with fresh made scones (2 more volunteers we thank!).
Paraic's Cafe - thanks to Riana and Lisa

Paraic’s Cafe – thanks to Riana and Lisa

This 3 k was seeming a first ever.  Others swam in the past from Roches Point to Crosshaven and also to Church Bay. I doubt it will ever be a mass swimming event….but it was there and had to be done !
If anyone wants to organise a new/never been done swim…let me know and I can advise on safety plan etc.  NED DENISON.
Click below for pictures:

To Myrtleville from Mexico via Thurles…

Rebeca Power - in cycling rather than swimming mode!

Rebeca Power – in cycling rather than swimming mode!

Rebeca Power has been based in Cork for work for the Summer and swam most weekdays in Myrtleville.  It’s a lot colder getting into open water swimming in Ireland compared to Mexico! At first she was getting ready for TriAthy, but then kept moving up steadily on her distances and from wetsuit to togs.  She’s a pleasure to swim with and no matter what the conditions or tides, she’s always up for a swim: nothing fazes her.  Not many people would leave home in Thurles to be in Myrtleville for a 6.30am swim.  Rebeca did it at least once a week all Summer.  This weekend she completed the 5km Long Swim to Tipperary.  Congratulations, Rebeca.