Scene is set for Lough Gill swim
THEY'RE getting back into the water in Lough Gill.
The fourth annual Lough Gill 10km Swim will take place on Saturday August 30th.
It is in aid of NW Hospice, Sligo.
It all began in 2011 when organiser Sam McGarry's nephew Neill sadly passed away under the care of the staff at NW Hospice.
Popular local Sam wanted to create and event which would both raise funds for the hospice and also honour the memory of Neill and thus swim came into being.
The swim has to date raised over €70,000 for the Hospice which relies on community events like this to partially fund its operation.
On race day, 60 swimmers will get underway from Parkes Castle in Country Leitrim and pass the famous Lake Isle of Innisfree, Church Island and tiny but beautiful Beezies Island which was inhabited until the 1950's.
The final 2km will be in the "narrows" of the Garavogue River and will provide some calmer waters and shelter for the swimmers who will be exhausted at that stage.
The finish is at the pontoon at the back avenue at Doorly Park in Sligo Town.
This official marathon distance swim will take swimmers an average of 3.5 hours to complete depending on race day conditions with the first swimmers expected around the 2.5 hour mark.
Some swimmers will wear wetsuits while others will opt to swim in what is known as "skins" and means only wearing a swim suit and braving the cold.
Swimmers will be accompanied by their own dedicated kayaker responsible for navigation of the route.
They will also provide food, drinks and encouragement for the swimmers as the going gets tough.
Each swimmer is tasked with raising a minimum of €250 which goes directly to NW Hospice and organisers hope to again break the €20,000 mark.
This year sees the exciting addition of a relay swim which will take place at the finish area of the main swim.
Teams of four will each cover a distance of 500m in a race which will really add to the excitement of the day and entertain the spectators.
The finish area will again have a festival atmosphere with lots of colour and entertainment with local DJ Scruffy Duffy providing the commentary as the events unfold.
The swim has won multiple awards and sees swimmers from all over Ireland, England, Wales, Italy and the US taking part.
Last year's winner, local teacher, Pat Tuohy is back to defend his title and will face some stiff competition as will Ladies winner Clodagh Murray.
The Lough Gill Swim is one of the many open water swim events taking place in Sligo this summer which has seen the county become one of the three main hubs of the sport in the country along with Dublin and Cork.
To find out more about or to donate to the event see www.loughgillswim.com