There were near-perfect weather conditions on Saturday for the 7th annual RNLI Myrtleville-Church Bay swim. We had 160 entries and 144 eventually took to the water for a fantastic, fast swim.
Thanks to all of the volunteers – registrars, kayakers, safety boats, Funkytown, Coast Guard, timekeepers, water dispensers, finish line erectors etc.! Thanks to Siobhan Russell, of course, for all the pictures – this takes a lot of her time! Click here for all of Siobhan’s pictures of the day.
I know it’s traditional to start with the winners, but in Myrtleville we’re a lot more focused on getting involved and enjoying the sea, so I’ll begin at the end. Antoinette Wilson has been training hard for a year – right through the Winter in the sea – to prepare for yesterday. She has volunteered at the swim for previous years and yesterday completed it herself for the first time in a fantastic 53.15. Right beside her was another Myrtleville regular, Pat Fitzgibbon, completing the swim for the second year. Noreen Fox was just ahead of these two, also completing her first swim in the event after swimming right through the Winter in Myrtleville. There were no bigger cheers for any swimmers on the day – everyone at the finish appreciated their effort and achievement.
At the other end of the field, there was a fantastic race between James Mintern and Amy Wolfe. James got home just in front and thus emulated his big brother, Chris, who won the first three runnings of this event 2010-2012. James went a step further and broke the course record in the process – 23.50 is the new mark. It’s hard racing trying to stay ahead of Ms. Wolfe who was a few seconds behind as first lady home.
With “Fast Eddie” Irwin on duty on the beach – and mum Nora time-keeping too – it fell to 13 year old, Neddie to keep the family name in lights. Boy, did he deliver – first male home in togs in 25.15 and beating the legendary Ned Denison to the line. It’s a joy to see the development of a young athlete, with Neddie first completing the swim in 2013 – aged 10, when he came 18th overall!
Fourth overall and first lady in togs was Myrtleville regular, Charley Breen, following on from her wetsuit win last year. Charley’s mum, Oonagh, came home in 35 minutes – a great swim and lovely to see a mother and daughter pairing in the event.
Orla Houlihan repeated her third-place finish from 2015. Fantastic swimming. Seen here consoling Jim Shalloo. Jim would swim to Church Bay on practically a daily basis during the Summer. He really should know the route. He still managed to miss the finish line and head over towards Camden before coming back – he’d have beaten Anthony “the Aussie” Sloman if he’d stayed on course!
Jim should have been able to see our new finish line. In fairness, Gary Frost spent the day leaning on it and reinflating it to make sure it stayed up! A great new addition to the event – much more visible this year.
All the way down through the rest of the field there were great performances and stories. Dan Murphy – with help from Carlos Amaya – did the swim for the first time last year and brought up the rear. After swimming all year, Dan was home in 45 minutes yesterday – looking like a pro 🙂
We had a visit from the Loneswimmer himself, Donal Buckley. Great to see him in Cork again.
The ever-enthusiastic gentleman, Mike Harris, was there. He found the following wind a nuisance as it kept his SafeSwimmer float blown up under his arm for most of the swim!
With the forced rescheduling of the swim last year, we clashed with the Blackwater Triathlon and thus lost the participation of lots of regulars from the club. Great to see them back yesterday.
A great day for all involved. Here’s one last picture – this is what it really is all about. How happy does sea swimming make us?
See you all next year 🙂