Facekinis on order

Siobhan Russell has pre-empted this announcement by promoting these on Facebook, but it’s still very exciting.  Rather than just go with another load of hats, I’m delighted to announce that our first order of facekinis with Myrtleville Swimmers logos will be arriving shortly from China.  Here’s one of the offerings from the factory before the logos were included. You can see how fantastic they’ll be with the Dutchman added. Edging insanity indeed.

pink-facekiniFacekinis are hugely popular in China to protect against UV damage and – most importantly – jellyfish.  Jelly Haters, Dave Foley and Denis Condon have orders in, of course. I expect they’ll take off big time in Cork.

Here’s a few swimmers trying out the matching suits also available.  Well worth the money to look this good.  You can see Bunny’s in the background.  Have fun guessing who is who in this picture.

Jelly18 (2)

Pat Lowry handled the recent hoodie order so he’s volunteered to take the facekini orders as they flood in.  Call him any time.

Finally, to prove they’re not just about looking good  and they don’t impede your swimming – here’s an action shot.  She’s flying. Again, answers on a postcard for which local is modelling the facekini.

China's Face-kini Becomes Unlikely Global Fashion Hit


Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Swim Report

From Ray McArdle:

On Saturday, August 23rd at 4.00pm, 93 swimmers took to the water for the 4th annual Courtmacsherry Lifeboat swim.  53 of these completed the longer 3K swim with the other 40 completing 1.5K.

The swim was supported by 9 kayakers, 3 support boats and the Lifeboat.  We also had volunteers assist with registration, time keeping, photographs, markers, liaising with the Lifeboat poeple and parking.  Thanks to everyone who volunteered.  The swim could not happen without them.

All 960 photos are available here.

The full PDF swim report and results can be downloaded here: 4th Annual Courtmacsherry Lifeboat swim.

Well done to all involved.

Tides and swimming in Myrtleville

From Bernard Lynch & Ian Venner

This note is intended for those new and not so new to coastal swimming and simplifies some of the calculations and facts which you may well expect to see.  Much of it is specific to Myrtleville.

The tidal streams (coastal currents) are the most important part of the tides you need to understand as a swimmer.  Most OW swimmers average between 2-3km/hr.  Tidal streams near the shore in the harbour can run at between 0.5 to 1.0 km/hr – so they can make a very big difference to your swim.  The speed of the tidal stream varies during each High Water/ Low Water (HW/LW) tidal cycle, and also varies between spring (very high/very low) and neap (not very high/not very low) tides.  Spring tides occur a day after a full moon and recede over a period of one week to a neap.

The spring/neap maximum flow rate can vary from 0.5 to 1.5km/hr.  The flow rate within a 6 hour tide range will be three times as strong at its fastest (in the middle of the six hours) as in the first and last hour. This is explained by the Rule of Twelfths.

Rule of Twelfths

The level of water does not rise or fall at a constant rate throughout the 6 hour duration of a rising or falling tide.  The amount by which it will do so can be estimated mentally by means of the following rough guide:

  • 1st hour rise or fall = 1/12 of Range
  • 2nd hour rise or fall = 2/12 of Range
  • 3rd hour rise or fall = 3/12 of Range
  • 4th hour rise or fall = 3/12 of Range
  • 5th hour rise or fall = 2/12 of Range
  • 6th hour rise or fall = 1/12 of Range

This impacts tidal speed too – the fastest speed being in the middle of the period between HW and LW. In the table below, assuming a 12 foot rise and fall in the tidal height (typical for Cork Harbour) and a maximum tidal flow rate of 1.5km/hr, you can see the how fast the tide moves and rises/falls.

Time after HW Twelfths Change in Depth in that hour Avg tidal flowkm/h
+0.5hr 1/12 1’ 0.5
+1.5hrs 2/12 2’ 1
+2.5hrs 3/12 3’ 1.5
+3.5hrs 3/12 3’ 1.5
+4.5hrs 2/12 2’ 1
+5.5hrs 1/12 1’ 0.5

What else influences tides?

Other factors can influence tidal heights and flow rates. Low pressure will increase tidal height (think of it as less atmospheric pressure pushing down on the water).  Lots of recent rain will increase the strength of the ebb, especially out of Cork Harbour and Fountainstown too (it’s just more water trying to get out).

How might this impact my swim?

So what does all this mean for swimmers?  Be conscious of the time of HW – not because the beach might be more or less sandy, but because it should influence where/how you swim.  Swim against the prevailing tidal flow, so that if you get tired you will have the benefit of it on the way back.  For example, you might consider a swim from Myrtleville to Church Bay and back on the third hour of a falling tide (tide against you going to Church Bay and with you coming back).  You should not consider doing it on the third hour of a rising tide (tide with you going to Church Bay and against you coming back).

In reality, the tidal flows between Myrtleville Beach, the Dutchman and Bunny’s are fairly limited.  There is a little more effect to consider if going Myrtleville/Fountainstown and particularly at Bunny’s point where the push or pull can be significant on the 3rd and 4th hour. If needed, there are plenty of escape routes onto the rocks between Myrtleville and Fountainstown – weather dependent. Going to Church Bay, however, puts you into much stronger tidal flows and you really need to plan your timings. Generally you would not plan a swim past the Dutchman unless the tide was ebbing (going out) for the return leg. Equally, anything further afield needs careful planning with someone who knows the area and tides.

So what direction does the tide flow?

The diagram below broadly illustrates the direction of flow of the tides around the Myrtleville area.  Tides, especially close inshore, are subject to back-eddies and counter-currents, and there are a few of these to be found in the area shown.

To check tides, either purchase a tide table or click on this link.

You should always know the tide before you swim.  Swim Safe.

Rough Monday

A very lumpy sea made Monday evening’s session more about surfing than swimming.  It’s a pretty bad forecast all week, so alternative venues will be needed!  Siobhan was back to record events and get into one picture herself.

Ruth Deane, Breda Maguire, Audrey Burkley and Siobhan Russell.

Ruth Deane, Breda Maguire, Audrey Burkley and Siobhan Russell.

Good to see Paschal Horgan of Lee Swim / Red Drive / OW Conference / Lions etc etc fame paid a visit – it’s unfortunate he had to be greeted by your man in the sarong/shirt combination.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Bernard Lynch, Harry Casey, Breda Magure, Steve McCarthy, Ronan McCarthy, Paschal Horgan, Audrey Burkley & Ruth Deane.

I’ll have to try to fix that picture.

Bernard Lynch (Amended), Harry Casey, Breda Maguire, Steve McCarthy, Ronan McCarthy, Paschal Horgan, Audrey Burkley and Ruth Deane.

Bernard Lynch (Amended), Harry Casey, Breda Maguire, Steve McCarthy, Ronan McCarthy, Paschal Horgan, Audrey Burkley and Ruth Deane.

There, that’s better.  Swim Safe!

To Roberts Cove and Beyond !!!

By Buzz Light year AKA Gary Frost

There is something about swimming in the open water from A to B that is very appealing. Some say I must be crazy to swim in the cold open water when I could be in a heated pool. Well open water swimmers think it is crazy to swim up and down in a pool hitting the same wall over and over and over. I did a lot of training over the winter in the pool and in the sea just so that I could do these longer distances.

I thought for a long time that 2km was my limit and I could not imagine going any further. However we all need to challenge ourselves and with that in mind and without discussing it with the other swimmers we all seemed somehow to start pushing the distance. The Dutchman became too short and happiness could only be found by adding distance. Myrtleville to Fountainstown and back started to become the norm at 4km and sometimes we threw in a trip to the Dutchman to get the distance up to 5km. It only seemed natural then to look to go further in one direction!!! 

Facebook and a glass of red wine have a habit of making me post swims that would normally be kept safely in the back of my mind. So I finally opened a bottle and posted “Myrtleville to Roberts cove at 6km”. There, I said it……..

Ian Venner replied to the Facebook post and offered his services and the use of the SS Craggy Island. So that was that, no going back now. We set the date for Saturday 23rd Aug. 

1630 sharp and Breda Maguire and I are waiting on the beach for Craggy Island to arrive with Sean Foley, Amy Barry Murphy, Ger Venner and Harry Casey. While we wait we can’t help but notice the white horses dancing off the coast. It’s a bit choppy out there I say to Bernard Lynch who replies “Its not ideal, but you will be fine” before adding that he only saw one Lion’s Mane jellyfish out there!

The Craggy Island four soon arrive and like navy seals they dive off the bow and swim to shore. After taking the obligatory photos we turn and swim straight out past Bunny’s. We round the corner after Bunny’s and there it is, the choppy open water and it is coming straight at us. Ian requested that we all regroup before crossing the large expanse of Ringabella bay as there are a lot of craft in the area.

42mins in and 1.73km (2) up on the clock and I’m still looking at Fountainstown on my right. The mind starts going to negative town. I’m thinking we will take more than 3hrs if the chop keeps slamming us like this. 56min 2.31km (3) and Ian approaches Breda, Harry and myself for our first feed as soon as Ger, Amy and Sean have cleared Ringabella bay. I remember the advice Carol Cashell gave me and lie on my back while I feed but only manage a few sips and more salt water as Craggy Island drifts down on us in the swell. Breda and Harry manage much better and have time for some Banana. We swim on and watch Ian head back to the others who seem to have spread out at this stage.

1hr 38min 3.94km (4) and we are a bit behind our planned time but it doesn’t matter as we are enjoying the swim in the swell and chop. Breda asks if we need to round the headland in the far off distance but thanks to my Garmin I’m able to inform her that we only have the Dutchman and back to do (1.5km) and that we are turning at the nearby headland. We swim on and as I lift my head for sightings I enjoy the sight of Harry and Breda disappearing behind every swell and wave even though they are only 10ft away. It feels perfectly natural in the large swell and I get into the zone and hum tunes (Irelands Call) as I exhale every breath to pass the time.

 2hr 4.75km (5) and Ian joins us again for our second and final feed. This time I ask him to drop a rope so I can hold on while I feed (yes I cheated !). This time I take on board the full 250ml and a few jelly babies (another Carol Cashell trick). Breda and Harry also have a good feed and while we feed we hear shouting from the hills above. Claire, Peter, Nana and John (my family) are up there to give us boost and it works. We know the finish is in sight and the mind now seems very positive. We all are enjoying every stroke, breath and wave.

2hr 9min 5km (6). I shout over to Harry and Breda to have one final look back towards Myrtleville before we turn for Roberts Cove. It is some sight. It seems to be so far away. We turn and follow the shoreline passing fishermen (Sean Foley asked them if this was “Irlande” in a French accent)  (7) on the rocks before seeing Roberts cove and listen to the cheering of our respective families encouraging us to the finish. 

The last 500m of the swim are in clear sandy bottomed water all the way to the beach and the cheers of our families. We finish in a time of 2hr 38min for the 6km. Barbara Anne greets us with cups of soup and Kit-Kats – which I have to say are an excellent combination.  Amy, Ger and Sean soon follow to the same warm reception. As swims go this was by far the most enjoyable and satisfying one of them all. We topped the night off by heading to Cronin’s pub for some food and drink and stories of a swimming nature. As with every swim, it is those who don’t swim make the swim happen. A big thanks to Ian Venner and Gillian Vaughan for providing cover for the swim on board Craggy Island. We could not have done it without them.

Beginish swim presentation

Rob Bohane insisted on coming to his favourite swimming spot to present Jim Shalloo’s prize from the Beginish Swim.  The presentation duly took place at 06.15 on Tuesday.

Rob Bohane presents Jim Shalloo with his prize from the Beginish swim - in Myrtleville, of course.  Where else?

Rob Bohane presents Jim Shalloo with his prize from the Beginish swim – in Myrtleville, of course. Where else?

CPR / AED course

Led by Pat Lowry, with assistance from Sam, Victor Shine, Gary Heslin and Pat Hayes,  a group of twelve Myrtleville Swimmers gained a vital life skill on Wednesday night.

We were instructed in CPR and use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and certified as trained responders .  As Pat said, we are on our way to making Myrtleville beach one of the safest in the country!  All of the instructors gave freely of their time and the only cost was €7 towards the certification and respiratory masks provided.Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.Good news was shared on the night by Conor Middleton and Bernard Lynch, that funds from the Centra Crosshaven Challenge will go towards the provision of a Defibrillator in Myrtleville.  This is planned to be in place in October.


The venue for the course is provided by the Coastguard in Crosshaven and it is a state-of-the-art facility.  Thank you to them for allowing us to use it.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

A second course is planned for October – date to be confirmed.  Contact myrtlevilleswimmers@gmail.com if you would like to get a place.  We already have eight names in for the twelve places.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

Jamie O’Donnell getting the rhythm right!

Thanks to Denise Lowry who surprised us with two large trays of cakes.  Swimmers and cakes: can’t beat that combination!  Also to Siobhan Russell who came to record the event.

Open water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland.

The course was really good – but the cakes were just brilliant!