DINGLE endurance swimmer Nuala Moore ventured far east this week as she and fellow endurance swimmer Anne Marie Ward from Donegal travelled to China to represent Ireland at the Jinan International Swimming Championships.
The championships attracted over 900 Chinese swimmers along with athletes from Estonia, USA, Russia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, the UK, Argentina, Finland, Taiwan, Macau and Ireland's Winter Swimming Team.
The Kerryman made contact with Nuala in China as she embarked on this action packed trip.
"Being invited to the Jinan International Swimming Championship is such an honour," she said. "The trip has been action packed; we have enjoyed a number of cultural visits with guided trips to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and a climb on The Great Wall of China which wasn't for the faint hearted!"
Nuala and Anne Marie have also enjoyed an official banquet with the Mayor of Jinan and the representatives of the Shandong province ahead of the championships.
"The media presence is huge and they are going to great lengths to make sure we have a wonderful time here," said Nuala.
"They are truly a very warm people and our hosts, the 'China Shandong Travel Service', who are based in Jinan have many contacts worldwide with offices in UK and also in Dublin."
Nuala's participation in the Jinan International Swimming Championships marks yet another milestone for the Dingle woman who has been something of a world conquering force over the past year or so.
Last year she was among the relay team which completed a swim across the Bering Strait from Russia to the USA.
Nuala is also only the second person in Ireland to have swam an 'ice mile' in water temperatures below five degrees centigrade - a feat she completed in Peddler's Lake on the Conor Pass last January - and she was also invited by the Russian Swimming Federation to take part in the Winter Swimming Championship in Tyumen, Siberia last year where she competed in minus 33 degree air temperature.
Nuala also became a world champion at the Festival of the North Winter Swimming Championships in Murmansk, Russia winning gold by swimming 1,000 metres at 0 degrees in 22 minutes (the fourth woman in the world to do so). She also took silver in the 450 metres and bronze in the 100 metre freestyle at the championships which took place inside the Arctic Circle.