19/07/2016 by Carl Reynolds
I went to the first of these in 2009 with about ten other hardy swimmers, all looking (except me) to swim the English Channel. To complete the week you’re expected to swim between 80 and 100km over ten days, including a six hour swim to qualify you for said Channel. It’s tough. The water off Kinsale averaged around 12C all week, with the occasional spot colder and warmer. For some reason, I signed up to go again this year – to swim, but also to help out. Over the week I swam a little over 30km (including a 7k Lough swim), did kayak support for a 5k swim, baked a few sausage and black pudding rolls for the gannets and did some on-shore support. My friends and temporary housemates, Sarah and Lynne, swam an impressive 83km and 50km respectively…Lynne also placed 2nd in the Lee Swim. After asking a few people at the end-of-swim party what stuck in their minds, they all said the community and support was top of their lists, followed by real cold water experience and the variety of swims they did. The photos below (click on them to make them larger) tells some of the story. But before you do, you need to appreciate that this camp is organised on a voluntary basis, led by the open water wonder that is Ned Denison (check his swimCV here), his partner Catherine and a host of Cork locals. Well done, no one lost and just a few bruised egos and skin!