Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Inishbofin Charity Challenge Swim

The Inishbofin Charity Challenge Swim is an 8-mile race held in mid-August in 14-16°C (57-60°F) water in western Ireland. The race starts on the mainland from Cleggan and traverses Bay to Inishbofin Island as a fundraisr for Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

One of the participants, Martin Cullen said, "I woke up to blue skies and calm seas. What a day God had in store for us all. The boat cutting through the water only disturbed the glassiness of the harbour. Out past the tower and into the ocean, stillness was all around. All of a sudden the dolphins greeted us and showed us how they are the real swimmers. Then, after the swimmers were numbered, a sea rescue helicopter appears out of the clear blue skies, dips and flashes its lights to acknowledge what we are all attempting to do."

Colm O’Neill, a former Irish National Team swimmer who is one of only nine swimmers to ever cross the North Channel, left everyone in his wake from the start of Cleggan Bay. The swimmers were greeted with a huge school of sprat that appeared like shafts of light coming up from the depths. As the swimmers entered the harbour, most were caught in a 1½ knot current. But nearly the entire island’s population came out to cheer on the swimmers towards the finish.

O’Neill won in 3 hours and 2 minutes followed by Kieran Fitzgerald in 3:47 and Aido
Connaughton in 3:54. The event also included a 1K swim for children.

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