Winner – Devil’s Island Trophy

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)

*****Congrats***

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.

Burstin for a swim – Jim Shalloo’s channel epic

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.

Have you seen this man?

Missing since a jaunt to the Rockies and notably absent at the swim last night, Denis Condon – where are you??

Whatever we said (and we said a lot, repeatedly), we didn’t mean it (well, maybe a bit, but not really, like) and we want you back (the showers need to be fixed, they keep running so you have to get the sand out of them).

Come back, Denis, all is forgiven (maybe not all, but enough for now).

Results – 2019 RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay Swim

The results are now online with Sportstiming for the 10th Annual RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay Swim.

Click here:   https://www.sportsplits.com/races/15595

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

RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay Swim – participant information

Thanks to the 210 entrants.

Each of you will receive an email with participant information and a waiver form for completion.  For convenience, these are here also:

RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay Swim 2019 – Participant Information

Waiver form for RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay 2019

It would help at registration if you had this waiver form printed and completed.  

Registration from 17.00 to 18.30 tomorrow.  Safety briefing at 18.30.

See you there.

24 hours to enter

“There are only 24 hours to enter”…..(sing that to the tune of “24 hours to Tulsa” – go on: sing that while you enter). See below for the tune.  Gene Pitney – de berries.

No late entries.  No transfers.  No changes.  Enter before 14.00 on Wednesday 19th or you won’t be swimming. 

ENTER NOW – THE 10TH ANNUAL RNLI MYRTLEVILLE TO CHURCH BAY SWIM.

Waiver form for RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay 2019

RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay Swim 2019 – Participant Information

Entries closing at 2pm (14.00 hours) on Wednesday

Entries are open – here: https://myrtlevilleswimmers.niftyentries.com/RNLI-Swim and will close at 14.00 on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019.  There are NO entries on the night, no swaps, no transfers – insurance doesn’t allow it.

The forecast is looking good.  If you want to swim, enter on time.

If you have entered and want to save some time at registration, please download and complete the Waiver form for RNLI Myrtleville to Church Bay 2019 and bring it with you on the night.  All swimmers will have to have one completed.

It’s going to be a great night, so please enter now to be part of it.