Swimmers brave the sea for 'Slip to Shore'

Francis Foley, Pat Brown, Den McCarthy, Margaret Gilbert, Patricia Murray and Kathi Schulter after the ‘Slip to Shore’ swim on Sunday
Francis Foley, Pat Brown, Den McCarthy, Margaret Gilbert, Patricia Murray and Kathi Schulter after the ‘Slip to Shore’ swim on Sunday
Fran McElligot, Clare Neenan, Ben O’Keeffe and his dad Brendan with Catherine Doolan. Photos by Sinead Kelleher

Fergus Dennehy

The growth in popularity of open-water swimming as a sport was evident in at the Ballyheigue 'Slip to Shore' this weekend as record numbers of swimmers took part in the annual event.

The evening was record breaking in more ways than one as not only did 155 swimmers took part in the 2km open-water swim from Dromatore Pier and onto the beach at Ballyheigue, but Fenit native Cillian Tierney smashed the record time by a whopping six minutes as he came home in 22:37.

All of these ingredients made for a very successful event, leaving organisers Mick Harkin and Marian Godley delighted.

"It was fantastic and of course obviously the weather helped a little bit but open water swimming is a growing sport. It gets bigger and bigger every year. The 155 swimmers that we had on the day was a record by a log shot so we were delighted with that," said Mick, speaking to The Kerryman on Tuesday.

"We had swimmers from all over the country down to take part. They came from as far away as Louth and it all went off very steadily and safely.  Even though we had bigger numbers, the event was better organised and safer than any other year before this," he continued.

The event is now into its ninth year and is in aid of the Inshore Rescue Service and the Ballyheigue Family Resource Centre - for which the swim has so far raised over €1,000.

Mick said that the event would not have been able to happen without the help and support of both the Inshore rescue service from both Banna and Ballyheigue, the kayakers who gave up their time to help out on the day and finally to John Edwards and his team at Wild Water Adventures.

Attentions now inevitably turn to the big 10-year swim  next year and although Mick was coy about what they might do to mark the occasion, he joked that they'll think of something. Roll on 2019!

Kerryman

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