Event Safety – from Ned Denison

Ned Denison took the time to give some thought to the responsibilities of swimmers and organisers in OW events. Well worth a read.

Event Safety

This is a consistent issue as we all need organisers and swimmers to keep this as their number one objective.

I see the two most important things as:

1. Each swimmer is up to the challenge of the swim
2. The organisers have the courage to cancel the swim (minutes before the event – if they are not 100% confident about swimmer’s safety…and swimmers to accept these calls (with gratitude).

Then we have the safety plan, the number of water-based safety boats/kayaks (and quality of the crew), check-in/out process and on shore volunteers/safety crew. While important – these two above are much more important.

Let’s start with the swimmers.

The SAFEST events require recent performance at a similar distance. The upcoming Dock swim, for example, requires:

“YOU MUST HAVE COMPLETED AT LEAST 1 X 5KMM OPEN WATER SWIM THIS YEAR TO ENTER.
DO NOT use this event as your first skins swim. If you are swimming skins, you must be properly acclimatised and have been swimming for a minimum of 2 hours consecutively this season.”

Your 5KM swim last year in Greece in 25C water doesn’t prepare you for 14C in Cork. The Dock swim isn’t a swim for you to increase your personal best distance from 2KM.

This requirement is in place for the safety of every swimmer, water-based safety crew and on-shore volunteers/safety crew. EVERY aborted swim introduces DANGER. Think about a slightly panicking 15 stone swimmer grabbing the side of a kayak. Or think about how hard it is to get that same swimmer into a rib – without seriously damaging their shoulder – or the backs of the crew. We now have a boat (with a propeller) in the swim path of others. Then you have possibly the high-speed trip to the start or finish (with the swimmer) – again along/through the swim path of others. Maybe the swimmer climbs out on the rocks (cut up and possibly bashed by waves) and a boat needs to try and get close enough to extract (is a crew member jumping out to help?). In all cases, EVERY aborted swim draws safety EYES off the rest of the swimmers – and lowers the safety cover for all.

It isn’t hard – get yourself to the ocean ahead of the swim and do your 5KM. You want safe? How about in 1 meters of water (back and forth) at Inchydoney Beach.

There are other events (in rivers, along gentle beaches, point to point, with more safety craft) which will have lower qualification levels.

Or, at a different time, get your own safety rib and crew and do that same swim as your personal best. They can focus 100% on your safety.

In endless safety briefings I also talk about your condition on the day: just out of the hospital, worst chest infection, etc. The swimmer needs to do a sane self assessment before registering and before getting wet.

Then the courage of swim organisers to cancel – even at the last minute. Yes, you drove 3 hours for the swim and planned your entire weekend around the event. Rest assured that every organiser REALLY wants their event to happen. There are hundreds of things to drive a last minute cancellation: waves which are judged to increase the difficulty beyond acceptable safety for ALL the swimmers (yes – they were fine for you – but not for the least experienced 25% of the swimmers), any hint of fog, 50 meters of deep brown sea foam across the course, 2 of the 4 ribs with mechanical difficulties, 3 folks buzzing about on jet skis who will not yield, heavy rain/hail which reduces visibility, 10 swimmers show up drunk and will not accept to give the swim a miss, the water temperature dropped to 11C in the last day, oil slick, very bad farm run off, 2 big basking sharks, lion’s mane/Portuguese man of war, thousands of stinging compasses, large fishing net adrift across the course, etc.

Kudos to the Myrtleville organisers who delayed the Church Bay swim by a few days – after they warned in advance of possible severe weather. They took some abuse from a few swimmers (which is just nonsense).

Open water swimming is getting more and more popular. We have more than 150 marathon swimmers (10KM or greater epic swim) in County Cork. The events are getting more popular and larger. In order to participate SAFELY in these events, you need to have a current open water swimming resume which proves that you are up to the challenge.

You can make and increase the quality of your resume – you need to if you want to enter longer events.

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Ardgroom Swim on Sunday next, August 5th

From Brian O’Shea

The Ardgroom Swim 2018 is taking place this Sunday August 5th at 2 pm in Glenbeg Lake, Ardgroom on the Beara peninsula.

Enter on the Prime Events website (link below) – entry fee is €10.

register.primoevents.com
I have just registered for the Ardgroom Swim 2018 Why not join me…

Swimmer registration on the day is in Harrington’s Cafe, Ardgroom between 12 pm and 1pm.

Results will be announced in The Village Inn, Ardgroom around 5 pm.

For more information and latest news, keep an eye on the Ardgroom Swim 2018 Facebok page.

If you or any kayakers you know would like to volunteer to provide safety cover, please email me at ArdgroomSwim@hotmail.com.

 

Annual 4km lap around Glenbeg Lake, Ardgroom, on the Beara penninsula. Entries are €10 on Primo Events. Search ’Primo Events Ardgroom Swim 2018’.

RNLI Swim 2018 – Photos

Thanks to Siobhan Russell for her fantastic work, as always.  For those of you who may not have access to these on Facebook, click on the link to see all the photos from the night:

RNLI Myrtleville-Church Bay 2018 Photos

Here’s a picture of the winner, Neddie Irwin.

Open Water, sea swimming in Cork, Ireland

Neddie Irwin with Gary Heslin, RNLI and Bernard Lynch

Oh wait, that’s an old one.  That was 2013 when he did it in 33.22 and finished 18th – the youngest swimmer in the event.  He knocked a bit off that time this year to 22.15.  He must have done a bit of training for the past five years. And stretching.

Roll on 2019.  Hopefully without any wind-enforced postponements.

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped and the sponsors – the RNLI, Coast Guard, Gardai, Order of Malta, Funkytown, Sports Timing, Port of Cork, Centra Crosshaven, Cronin’s Pub, The Edge Sports, Happy Pear and numerous fantastic individuals without whom nothing could run.  All of your time and efforts are greatly appreciated.  Thanks to you all.

Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Swim: July 21st

From Ray McArdle:

The 8th Annual Courtmacsherry Lifeboat Swim takes place at Blind Strand, near the picturesque fishing village of Courtmacsherry at 2.00pm on Saturday, July 21st. Courtmacsherry is a 45 minute drive from the Bandon Road roundabout. The swim will be well sign posted from the village. Please leave plenty of time for parking and registration. The safety briefing will take place at 1.30pm.

The swim course starts on the beach at Blind Strand and proceeds anti-clockwise around 2 markers. 

Participants can choose between 1 lap(1.5K) or 2 laps(3K). Swimmers who elect to do 2 laps will run/walk a short distance on the beach prior to starting lap 2. 

The Courtmacsherry volunteers will provide soup and sandwiches for all participants and volunteers. This year I am delighted to announce that IT@Cork Skillnet will continue to be our sponsors for the event. IT@Cork Skillnet will be providing the first 200 swimmers registered with a generous goody bag. Really nice gifts inside each one.

We have also secured the improved parking again this year.

Registration this year is again via Active – just click here – and closes on Thursday, July 19th at 11.00pm. Entry fee is €15 online. If the event maximum of 250 swimmers is not met, I will accept some entries on the day. On the day fee will be €25 and all proceeds go to the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat. Swim Ireland membership is not mandatory for this swim. 

If you know of anyone who would like to volunteer to kayak, please have them contact me directly.

Any further updates will be posted on the event web page on Facebook and emailed to those registered.

I look forward to seeing you for a fun swim on July 21st.

Rescheduled swim tonight

All entries from Tuesday’s swim still stand.  Thanks to those who have advised they can’t make the rescheduled event tonight.  We hope to see you next year!

All entrants will receive an email this morning with the participant information.  It is posted here also for convenience – just click the link.

Rescheduled RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay Swim 2018 – Participant Information

Green for Go – Registration from 18.00 this evening, Thursday, July 5th.

Ransom Demand

The following was anonymously received (from Joanne H) this morning.

Myrtleville Musketeers, a renowned swimming fundamentalist group, have succeeded in capturing solo attemptee Brendan O’Brien. Brendan, a renowned Sandycover, is considered a valuable hostage in ongoing negotiations with Ned and his band of doggy paddling renegades. The Musketeers are striving to bring swimming back to the masses by being all inclusive, going so far as to offer them food and showers after their lap of the dazzling Dutchman.

In exchange for Brendan, The Myrtlevillains are willing to accept custody of 50, 3 legged feral goats, one misshapen Island, the installation of swimming lanes in Myrtleville by the Sandycove “swimmers” and maintenance of same, as well as the renaming of CDW to Myrtleville Fun Swim Camp with Cake.

Offers for Brendan’s release can be made via the triple axis of swimming evil: the Myrtle Turtles, Myrtleville Selkies and Myrtleville Musketeers.