In picturesque Camlough in northern Ireland, a world open water swimming relay record was set by a group of 220 swimmers after 9 nights and 10 days of non-stop swimming. Officially called the Guinness World Record for Longest Continuous Open Water Relay Swim, the relay took 232 hours 52 minutes and 30 seconds to complete 685.5K (426.5 miles).
The relay easily broke the previously record of 480K.
From the first swimmer, Conor Murphy, who started swimming on September 9th, to the last swimmer, Donna Cooke, who finished on September 19th, the enthusiasm, extensive planning and logistical support was overwhelming.
The idea was the brainchild of local swimming enthusiasts Aoife McCourt-Lynch and Padraig Mallon who worked tirelessly to recruit and then provide the operational support of swimmers of all ages and abilities from across Ireland. Together with the support and involvement of the local community, the 10-day effort was a triumph shared by many.
Media coordinator Maria Murphy said, "The level of participation by everyone in Camlough and the wider South Armagh area was fantastic. This was a very serious and ultimately very successful attempt to break the world record for the longest continuous open water relay swim, but it’s fair to say that there was a really buzzing, carnival-type atmosphere at the Lake over the course of the 10-day marathon swim."
The pride in the record was shared by many locals who have since moved from the area. Paul O’Callaghan, Chairman of the London Armagh Association, said, "It’s really amazing that so many people have worked so hard to bring this great achievement to Camlough. There’s a real sense of pride amongst Armagh people here that we’ve broken the world record and that we’re up there now with the best of them." Hugh Meehan, now living in Boston, said, "It’s great to be in a city like Boston with people from every country on the planet living here, and be able to say that my part of the world, South Armagh, holds this world record. It’s a credit to everyone involved."
After the final swimmer completed his lap, a lap of honor was swam by Aoife Mc Court-Lynch, Padraig Mallon and a group of local children who had trained in the lake all summer. A fitting end to a remarkable collective marathon swimming effort.
Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association