103 swimmers in the 2.5km race
The eagerly awaited Clogherhead 2.5km Round the Head Swim organised by Drogheda Triathlon Club returned recently a two-year layoff due to COVID, and it was well worth the wait.
A record number of swimmers – 103 all told – travelled to the seaside village of Clogherhead from Cork, Carlow, Waterford, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Dublin, Armagh, Antrim Down, Louth, Meath and even from South Africa.
The swimmers included both wetsuit and skins and luckily the water temp was around 13/14 C so the skin swimmers were happy. Leading out the skin swimmers was Dominic Mudge followed closely by Cork based Clogherhead man Thomas Maguire.
In perfect conditions, mirror calm sea, no wind and more importantly not a jellyfish in sight, the swimmers took to the sea led by the Drogheda favourite Colin Lowth who has won the race on two previous occasions and was hoping to make it a third win.
The ladies race was also hotly contested with Drogheda Triathlon Club swimmer Angela Kearney setting the pace early on followed closely by her daughter Meadhbh and Sophie Lindsay.
As usual the swimmers began their swim close to the Clogherhead RNLI station watched over by the Clogherhead Coastguard who provided land based cover for the swim. Swimmers very quickly got into a steady rhythm pacing themselves for the 2.5K ahead of them. Colin led the field but was closely followed by 14 year old South African Conor Moynihan on his toes most of the way. Drogheda water polo club player Alex Crosbie was close on the toes of both of them right to the finish line. Overall winners were Colin Lowth (wetsuit) who was first over the line in a time of 33 mins 51 secs followed by Conor Moynihan (wetsuit)in 39 mins 42 secs and in third place overall was Dominic Mudge (skins) in a time of 39 mins 52 secs.
Alex Crosbie(wetsuit) 42 mins 39 secs Drogheda Water Polo was to finish in 3rd place in the wetsuit category followed very closely by his water polo team mate Alan Torris (wetsuit) in a time of 42 mins 45 secs.
Meanwhile the ladies were battling it out with mother and daughter not giving up, but Angela Kearney (wetsuit) brought all her open water experience to bare to be the first lady to cross the line in a time of 47 mins and 11 sec. In second place was Sophie Lindsay (wetsuit) in a time of 50 mins 48 secs followed by Meadhbh Nolan (wetsuit) in a time of 54 mins 36 secs.
Not to be outdone, the skin swimmers were putting their wetsuit competitors under pressure right up to the line. Dominic Mudge having taken 3rd place overall was closely followed by Cork based Clogherhead man Thomas Maguire in a time of 41 mins 48secs to take 4th place overall followed by Sean Campbell 3rd skin swimmer and 9th overall. In the ladies race Una Ryan (skins)was leading the charge in a fantastic time of 47 mins 25 secs in 2nd place was Emma Van Loock (skins) in 48 mins 26 secs and in third place was Tara Smith (skins) in 53 mins 53 secs.
The swimmers were looked after by our safety swimmers, kayakers and the Boyne Fishermen’s River Rescue, who were thanked profusely all for their continued support without whom they wouldn’t have a safe swim.
Drogheda Credit Union very generously sponsored the prizes for the swim. Of course it is very important to fuel up when you are swimming 2.5K and Lidl very generously supplied the perfect healthy fuel of bananas and apples. Of course triathlete and swimmer Paddy Carolan as always provided a selection of milk to help in the refuelling and rebuilding of muscle after the long swim in the Irish sea
One of the real successes of this event it that it is not confined to elite swimmers but includes swimmers who are challenging themselves to complete the 2.5K distance in Open Water which is not for the faint hearted and definitely not for anybody who hasn’t done the training. The swimmers have been training away quietly in the sea and pool over the winter putting in the hard miles and more recently acclimatising to the cold Irish sea.
Well done everybody who swam especially the first timers and supported the event which is one of two major annual swim events organised by Drogheda Triathlon Club.