Remembering Jimmy – one year gone today. A great friend to everyone in Myrtleville.
From Ned Denison:
This trophy is given to the Crew (mostly) and Swimmer who completed the most interesting, epic marathon swim during the year by a Cork based swimmer (well known swims like the English Channel are not eligible). Marathon swimming is a “we” event – and this is the time every year when we applaud all the crews (and swimmers) with a special trophy. The selection panel were five swim leaders from the different groups in County Cork.
Sheeps Head Lighthouse to Durrus (26km) **First Time Recorded**
Sean Foley (pilot), O’Mahony Dave (swim coach) and Marie Watson (crew chief)…and Darren Morrisseyy (swimmer)
Darren submitted the following nomination
This swim was initially planned back in 2017 as a 10km swim out on the Sheeps head peninsula but it was never attempted. In the autumn of 2018, I was looking to try getting a ‘big’ swim in during the summer of 2019 and the Sheeps head came back into my mind. Having completed a 10k swim in 2017 I wanted to see if it was an option to swim the entire length of the peninsula and whether it had been done before. I mentioned to Marie that I was looking at doing the swim and it was basically the lightbulb moment. From then on, I was encouraged, cajoled, interrogated, mentored but most of all completely believed in. There was no way that I wasn’t going to not only attempt, but to finish that swim. Marie brought me through nearly every scenario I could possibly face and she drove the training relentlessly. This included doing a course on dealing with hypothermia in swimmers.
Dave O’Mahony is my swim coach the last few years through his association with Crosshaven triclub. Hours upon hours of swimming, coaching and planning was freely given and when I asked him to be part of the crew he didn’t even hesitate to say yes.
Sean Foley was literally my saviour. The week before the swim I needed to explore an alternative boat due to mechanical issues and scheduling conflicts with my original booking. I asked Sean would he know anyone in the area who had a boat and who may have been available. Sean immediately volunteered to do this himself and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
The swim came about very quickly after all the drama of trying to get a replacement boat. We organised to make our way to Kilcrohane the evening before the swim with a planned swim start of 06:15. Sean had what only can be described as an eventful passage from Crookhaven around the Mizen and over to collect us outside Kilcrohane. A swim plan was distributed with everyone’s role and responsibilities made clear. The feed plan was put in place and we made our way out to the lighthouse. When we got there, we were concerned about the safety of the swimmer as the water conditions were ‘lumpy’. Marie basically told me to get into the water and start swimming. For me this became an unknowingly long but ultimately incredible day. I learned so much about my capabilities and did so knowing that I had the most amazing crew looking out for me. I didn’t know it at the time but our little whatsapp group for the swim was almost going viral. A Spotify playlist I put together for the swim (Sean’s boat has external speakers) was heard the length and breadth of the peninsula that day. All the feeds went exactly according to plan and at no time was anything allowed to break my concentration. When I needed to be told to speed up or when I inadvertently swam to the boat as they were all dancing to some of the music I picked out, the day went in a blur. I couldn’t recommend a more amazing bunch of people. Their generosity, commitment, knowledge, humour, humility and utter determination is something that I’ll never forget. For me starting out on my long swim journey I couldn’t have had a better bunch of people. They deserve every accolade that can be given to them.
FROM JEN MARSHALL:
My name is Jen Marshall and I am contacting you on behalf of Special Olympics Munster.
For the past 2 years Special Olympics has organised a fundraising event in Kinsale called the Polar plunge where we ask people to bravely jump into icy waters whilst raising money for Special Olympics Munster.
This year’s plunge is being organised by a group of 10 enthusiastic Special Olympic athletes and volunteers and we hope to have family, friends and supporters all jump off the main pier in Kinsale town centre for charity.
I know that the Myrtleville Swimmers have been extremely kind over the years with your support and we would be extremely grateful members might consider supporting our Athletes once again by taking part in the event on the day.
The event takes place on the main pier in Kinsale (beside the Trident Hotel) on the Saturday 30th of November from 10.30. We would be honoured if people might consider taking part after their Saturday morning swim at 9 or even as an alternative to it, we would welcome all with open arms. There is an early bird registration for which I have embedded a link below – or people can turn up and register on the day.
It should be a fun local event with singers from the Kinsale choir, members of the local Gardai and most importantly our Athletes who will be there leading the mornings jump.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
FROM AISLING BARRY AND MARIE WATSON:
The Vampire Swim will take place next Saturday at 14.00 in Myrtleville.
Registration is via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and there are hats for the first 50 registered. No registration number, no swim. The Donation for the swim is €5 for those who have given a blood donation and €10 for non-donors.
Please GIVE BLOOD.
Make an appointment at St. Finbarr’s and you’ll be prioritised over walk-ins.
This year all funds raised will go to support Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre Program & Cork Lions Club.
A beautiful day for it and the PMoW seem to have gone away. The last 6pm swim of the year is this evening. Back to dark evenings and waiting for Monday, March 30th, 2020 after today.
Of course, with the hour going back next weekend, it makes 7am swims possible again for a few weeks. See you in the mornings 🙂
There are lots of Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish on the beach this morning. Avoid them on the beach and stay out of the water for a few days. They’re dangerous!
I’m sure Jim will have his own version of his several days out in channel land, but I’m just going to capture – for posterity – a few of the happenings around the actual swim. Kind of a colour piece, to be fancy about it.
Channel waiting is a pain in the ass. Are we going? Are we going now? Is it windy? In Dover? No? In Wissant? Yes? Now Dover? Wissant? Days and days of it. Seriously, it’d drive you to drink. Or at least that’s how I rationalised this pic I got from our channel hero a few days before the planned swim dates. Jim’s take on carb-loading shouldn’t really have been a surprise to me, as the top swimmers have nutrition plans that might not suit those of us less gifted athletes.
Finally the word came to get to Dover and I sprang into action, booking flights and accommodation. Ryanair first thing on Friday morning and the closest I could get to Dover – the Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone – for the overnight. Jim was supposed to swim early on Saturday, so the hotel was going to be a brief stop. As long as it had beds, how bad could it be? Bad. It could be bad. Very, very bad.
Apart from needing an extra hour to get through the airport while Bernard greeted the hundred or so people he knew, the flight went fine. We’d have got to Dover quite handily if Bernard hadn’t directed us on a shortcut to Varne Ridge to meet Finbarr. Here’s a view of a part of the shortcut. One of the wide parts.
We went to do the normal channel stuff – swim in Dover, see the statue etc. Here’s Captain Shalloo (Lieutenant Commander (Ret’d) to be precise) meeting Captain Webb.
Then we went to the hotel. The Grand Burstin Hotel, Folkestone. Make a note of it, people. Make a big note. On the note write NFW. In big red letters.
All I can say in my defence for booking the place is that other channel swimmers have stayed there. I don’t know how, but they did. Where to begin? I suppose the first indication that we might have a problem would have been the man entering the lobby being led by a pit bull. In said lobby he met another man – holding two alsatians. We didn’t know it then, but they were wise men. They had brought protection.
The hallway to the rooms gave us further warning of what we were getting into. We were on A-Wing. I’d hazard a guess that A-Wing in the H-Blocks was more salubrious – even during the dirty protests.
The room was hot. Sauna hot. One window opened an inch. It did not help for temperature reduction. The room was not clean. Finbarr will usually walk anywhere in bare feet, having soles like leather. Finbarr would not walk in this room without flip flops. The squishy stuff on the carpets would melt his feet. He was sure.
Here are four reviews from TripAdvisor for the Grand Burstin Hotel for around the time of our stay. You’ll get the idea. Might have been a good plan if I’d checked them first -rather than Finbarr calling them out to me while we were in the room. Sweating.
- Appalling – worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at.
- OMG – worst hotel ever.
- Below any acceptable standard.
- Absolutely horrendous.
These reviews are kind. Very kind.
Bernard went to the hotel bar to get some water – to pour over our heads as the sweat rolled off us. He got back. That was good, because it wasn’t a certainty he would. While Bernie queued for the water bottles, one man – a representative sample of the hotel clientele, it must be said – loudly advised his female partner to “Shaht the fahk ahp, yew stewpid fahkin cahnt”. Bernard did not engage him in conversation and, in fact, did a commendably military impression of “eyes front”.
We sweated in the sauna-room waiting for the call on the swim. Through the inch of open window in the sauna, we heard the following piece of friendly banter from outside. “Shank ‘im!! Go on, fahkin shank ‘im!! I’ll fahkin shank yew ya bastahhd.” etc. And more in the same vein. A good night was proceeding in Folkestone. Ten minutes later we heard the swim was off, so Bernard insisted we should go outside to join the revellers – and hopefully stop sweating.
The bouncer (yes, the hotel door had a bouncer) looked at us and asked “You’re not going outside?”, in disbelief. Bernard (it was all his idea) confirmed we were. The bouncer looked us over and said “Well, you’ve a few big guys and if you all stay together you should be ok.” I am not making this up. Bernard still made us go out.
To be fair, once he’d seen inside the door of a couple of the dives near the hotel and the state of the crowd falling around the place, even Bernie gave up. We ended up sitting outside the door of the hotel among the debris. It gave us a nice view of the police car pulling up and the two officers disappearing at speed into the hotel – possibly looking for Bernard’s friend from the bar, or some of the happy shankers still wandering the area.
We got out alive the next morning and more swimming at Swimmers Beach was done and a visit made to the White Horse. By this stage, Jim was off the drink for almost four days, so he topped up the carbs with Bernard during Saturday and I drove us back to Heathrow. Unfortunately, that carb-loading proved to be unwise as a call came at the airport to say – “turn around, come back, swim tomorrow…”.
I had been shown to be singularly useless at getting Jim across the channel, so I was dispatched home with Bernard. The call went out for more experience. Enter The Bull.
In summary for this second attempt and to give credit where it’s due, Rob at least got as far as buying all the food for the crossing and getting Jim greased up. He also didn’t risk lives with his choice of accommodation. Then the swim was cancelled. Again.
They had a picnic on the beach, David took all the remaining food back to London to feed the starving masses, Finbarr started driving home – again – and Rob and Jim dealt with the carbs. Trojan workers for the carbs, the lads. Trojan.
So that was round two. No channel joy. No joy with me, no joy with Rob. Plenty of carbs, but no joy. Time to get serious. One week later, there was a new boss. Unlike what The Who said, it was not the same as the old boss(es). Enter Carol.
Carbs? Well, carbs just weren’t on the menu any more.
Doesn’t Jim look happy on the H2O? Maybe not. But he certainly did the next day. Carol was in charge. Jim swam the channel. Simple. Then normal service resumed.
So there you have it – a lesson in channel swimming. You can call The Burstin-Booker. You can call The Bull. But if you want to swim the channel – call Carol.
Oh, and don’t book The Burstin. Don’t ever book The Burstin.