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Displaying items by tag: Sea Swimming

Dippers to Swimmers, Beach to Buoy, open water skills and yoga and dip are among Swim Ireland’s tuition programmes for its summer season.

The 45-minute classes, which will run for four or six weeks depending on location around the Irish coast, will begin in the next two weeks, it says. It says there is still time to book places in east, west and south locations.

The locations include Wicklow (adults and children), Arklow, Courtown, Rosslare, Dunmore East and Tramore on the Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford coasts.

Fountainstown, Inniscarra, Garryvoe, and Kinsale will offer classes in Cork, and there are programmes in Belmullet, Co Mayo, Enniscrone, Co Sligo and a children’s programme in Salthill, Co Galway.

It says that Dippers to Swimmers is a new programme for 2022, that is designed to appeal to those that don't have the ability or confidence to participate in our Beach to Buoy programme.

“This programme will bring the swimmer back to basics and will strive to bring the swimmer from a casual dipper to one who can swim 50 metres comfortably, “ it says.

Beach to Buoy is for those who want to swim to that first buoy, and participants should be able to swim 50m, with a goal of completing 700m at the end of the programme.

Sessions are 45 minutes long. Wetsuits are recommended but not essential, and all participants must have a tow float, it says.

The open water skills programme is for experienced swimmers who want to improve their technique, skills and stamina in open water.

Participants should be able to swim 700m already with a view to building distance in a safe and encouraging environment. Sessions are 45 minutes long.

The yoga and dip is a “wellness and holistic programme, guided by a qualified yoga instructor for 45 minutes followed by a dip in the open water”, it says.

Swim Ireland gives the following link to click and book a place.

Published in Sea Swim
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Volunteers at Red Bay RNLI saved a swimmer on Monday evening (13 June) after she got into difficulty 200m from the shore at Cushendall in County Antrim.

The inshore lifeboat helmed by Emmet Connon and with three crew members onboard, was on a training exercise in Red Bay when at 7.35 pm, a crew member standing on the shore outside the lifeboat station spotted a swimmer in great difficulty. He immediately raised the alarm and the crew on exercise diverted the short distance to the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were good, with an overcast sky and calm seas.

On arrival, the crew observed that the swimmer was struggling to stay afloat. Two crew members jumped into the sea and went to her aid before rescuing the casualty from the water and bringing her onboard the lifeboat where casualty care was administered as the lifeboat made its way back to the station.

Back at the shore, the casualty was handed into the care of a waiting ambulance crew and subsequently transferred to hospital.

Speaking following the call out, Red Bay RNLI Helm Emmet Connon said: ‘This was a frightening experience for the swimmer, and we would like to wish her a speedy recovery. Time was of the essence this evening and we would like to commend our fellow crew member who spotted the casualty was in danger and immediately raised the alarm which allowed us to get to her so quickly and bring her to safety.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

“People who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers,” are being asked to tell the Council if they think “existing designated bathing waters” should be maintained or new ones identified.”

Local authorities must identify official bathing areas in their area every year so that they can be monitored for safety, water quality and their level of use.

To help with this process, Cork County Council are asking people who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers to tell them if they think they should maintain existing designated bathing waters designations or give a new official bathing area designation to areas that are commonly used for swimming, but not identified at the moment.

Local authorities are required under the Bathing Waters Directive and the Bathing Water Quality Regulations to identify bathing waters on an annual basis. Water quality at all designated bathing waters must stringent microbiological standards to protect the health of people who bathe there.

“These laws require that the local authority prepares detailed descriptions or profiles for each of the identified bathing water sites that describe not just the bathing area but also areas in the surface waters catchment area that could be a source of pollution. The profiles include an assessment the risk of pollution and what action would be taken if pollution occurs.

In some cases, the official bathing areas are also the areas where local authorities focus their resources providing lifeguards during the summer season,” says the Council.

“If you wish to propose your favourite beach/river etc. as a new bathing water site, comment on an existing site please forward your submission to [email protected]

Closing date for submissions is June 9.

Published in Sea Swim
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Renowned swimmer Henry O’Donnell is set to bring his 1500km, round Ireland Finswim to a close. In doing so he will become the first person to circumnavigate the island of Ireland by swimming with the use of fins.

The expedition is expected to conclude at Henry’s native Carrickfinn in County Donegal, where he first set off on his journey around Ireland on September 17th 2020.

O’Donnell has undertaken the challenge to raise much-needed funds for national charities Water Safety Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society, and to date has raised over €46,000. Henry has been a keen advocate for both charities, as he delivered safety talks to children and the public throughout his swim.

Listen into O’Donnell talking to Lorna Siggins about his round Ireland Finswim on podcast here

Published in Sea Swim

It is 50 years ago since a “Men Only” sign was removed from the entrance to Galway’s Blackrock swimming area.

Before this, bathing was officially segregated in Salthill on Galway Bay, at the request of Catholic bishops who believed mixed bathing could be occasions of sin.

From the 1930s, when swimming became popular, women were directed to Ladies beach, while families were accommodated close by.

By the end of the 1960s, however, attitudes had changed and rules were not so rigidly observed.

A 15-minute documentary by Mary Cunningham which is available online for this year’s Culture Night interviews people who swam at Salthill in the 1960s, and remember the influence of the Catholic church on social behaviour.

Jane Hogan and Maude O’Donohoe recall one young woman's rebellion against the rules sometime in the mid 1960s, when she swam up to the male section at Blackrock and left her bikini top on a flagpole.

Year round swimmer P.J. Flaherty recalls the camaraderie that existed among the men who frequented the area, and the resentment of some at the arrival of women.

In 1971, a local councillor requested that Galway Corporation ban so-called “Bikini Girls”' from the “male enclave”, as they disturbed the older men and priests who swam there.

However, by then attitudes had changed and the “Men Only” sign was quietly removed in early September, 50 years ago.

Listen to The Bracing Waters and Moral Dangers of Salthill HERE

Published in Sea Swim

One of Ireland’s longest one-day sea swimming events will extend over a month this year, as the annual Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim goes “virtual” again.

The event in aid of Cancer Care West, which is now in its 16th year, raised a record-breaking 185,000 euro in 2020 when it was re-imagined to meet Covid-19 restrictions.

It would normally see 150 people crossing the bay one day in July, swimming 13km solo or in relay teams from Aughinish, Co Clare to Salthill’s Blackrock diving tower.

Since the swim began 15 years ago, a total of 740 people have transited the bay.

As with last year’s format, participants are encouraged to swim a total of 13km during the month of August – which can be broken up, and can take place anywhere in the world.

“The swim is much more than a fundraiser; it's the swimming highlight for so many across Ireland,” Cancer Care West director Brian Thornton has explained.

“Last year, the swimming community in Ireland and swimmers around the world as far as Australia took to the water and made the 2020 Galway Bay Swim one we truly will never forget, for all the right reasons,” he says.

“ We would naturally love to be swimming the bay in one day but until we can do this safely, this month-long event allows everyone to be part of something so positive,” he says.

"The monies raised will help fund support services for cancer patients and their families through our support centres ” he adds.

All year round swimmer Paddy McNamara says the event gives an opportunity to swimmers of all abilities to do something special for Cancer Care West.

“This challenge can be completed anywhere in the world so it would be great to see a local and international element to the event," he says.

Participants are asked to raise €100 for Cancer Care West and those who complete the challenge qualify for a Galway Bay Swim t-shirt and a branded swim cap.

Registration is open now here

Published in Sea Swim
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The Irish Coast Guard rescued two swimmers after they ran into difficulty while swimming at the Forty Foot bathing place on Dublin Bay yesterday.

The incident occurred earlier today as the swimmers required help in the choppy sea. The Dun Laoghaire Harbour branch of the Coast Guard confirmed that one of the swimmers also required medical assistance.

Thankfully, all persons are understood to be ok.

Personnel from the National Ambulance Service, Dublin Fire Brigade, RNLI Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Station, and An Garda Síochána were required during the rescue operation.

In a statement, the Coast Guard said: "We have had two callouts this morning involving swimmers. Conditions are unsafe along our coastline and continue to be unsafe for the rest of the week due to strong easterly winds.

Published in Forty Foot Swimming

Sea swimming weather and wave safety is the theme of an online talk tonight - the first in a new series hosted by Swim Ireland and the RNLI.

In response to the surge in interest in open water swimming during the pandemic, the series of talks will deal with all aspects of safety and planning to ensure swimmers can make informed decisions and within Covid-19 guidelines.

RNLI Water Safety lead Kevin Rahill will host this evening’s webinar at 7 pm.

Booking is €5 and all proceeds go to support the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews.

Topics covered include 

  • Where to get your forecast
  • What the terms mean
  • Using the forecast to make your decision
  • How weather affects waves
  • Other factors affecting waves
  • Types of waves and how they can affect you
  • Weather, waves and your visibility

“With more people getting involved in open water swimming, we are delighted to work in partnership with Swim Ireland to help those taking part, whether new or experienced swimmers, to continue to enjoy the sport safely,” Mr Rahill says.

More people are getting involved in open water swimmingMore people are getting involved in open water swimming

“ We are happy to share our knowledge and experience through these webinars to help everyone make informed decisions about where and when to swim and what steps one can take to ensure a fun and safe experience,” he said.

Grainne Murphy, Get Ireland Swimming national co-ordinator said described as “ unprecedented” the increase in people dipping into open waters across the island of Ireland.

“ In the summer we were able to support more than 700 swimmers by providing coached sessions and lessons as part of our Open Water Programmes,” she said.

“ It is even more important to support newcomers in the cold winter, which is why we have partnered with the RNLI to provide an ongoing series of educational webinars, that deliver key safety messages, and provide a platform for all to speak directly to experts in open water swimming and in open water safety,” she said.

“ These sessions aim to build participants’ confidence and a strong awareness of the importance of taking safety precautions when in or around open water.”

Running alongside the joint RNLI and Swim Ireland Open Water webinars will be a series of 30-minute ‘Lunch Break Chats’, providing education on ice swimming, swim route planning, and Channel swimming.

Swim Ireland’s Instagram channel is planning “live chats”, including with Irish ex-international marathon swimmer Chris Bryan, who will have a focus on improving swimmers’ knowledge of open water.

Sea Swim Webinars

  • Monday, January 25th - Weather and Waves with RNLI, 7 pm l €5 l Book HERE.
  • Thursday, January 28th - talk with Irish Ice Swimming Association chair Tiffany Quinn – a 30-minute question and answer session on ice swimming. Visit the event booking page to secure your place.
  • Monday, February 8th - Dee’s Experience with Antarctic swimmer Dee Newell, 7 pm €5 Book HERE
  • Monday, February 22nd - Tides and Currents with RNLI, 7 pm €5 Book HERE.
  • Monday, March 8th - Route Planning for Open Water Swimmers, 7 pm €5 Book HERE.

Sea Swim dates

Published in Sea Swim
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This Christmas is very different from all our other Christmases we have experienced and thousands of people around the country who will want to immerse themselves in our invigorating waters must demonstrate compliance with our NPHET guidelines says John Leech of Water Safety Ireland.

We advise Charity Fundraising Organisers to ensure that only small groups of swimmers descend upon our favourite swimming locations at any one time and that their events be spread out over the holiday period to ensure we do not have any breaches of the NPHET Guidelines. We simply cannot have large groupings of well-meaning charity supporters converging at our favourite bathing places. Swim at known safe bathing places where there is public rescue equipment available should a swimmer get in to difficulty.

Our country has seen an explosion in the number of people involved in open water swimming since the arrival of COVID-19 and on the whole people have been compliant in terms of adhering to social distancing, wearing masks and hand hygiene. Christmas swims have grown in popularity in recent years as it is a very sociable experience as well as raising much-needed funds for charities.

Charity swimmers occasionally take chances beyond what is acceptably safe, finding themselves left without sufficient strength to climb out of the water due to the cold. Cold winter waters cause “cold shock” and hypothermia can set in within a short period, especially if there is a high wind chill factor, this can overwhelm the fittest of swimmers. Immediately before the swim, people should throw cold water on themselves and always ease into the water slowly introducing your body to the low temperature. If you see a person in difficulty, do not attempt a rescue for which you are not trained. Make use of nearby public rescue equipment such as a ringbuoy.

Charity Swim guidelines:

  • People organising these swims on Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day or New Year’s Day must ensure full compliance with NPHET Guidelines and that they provide comprehensive details of each event to the Irish Coast Guard and local Gardaí in advance of their event.
  • Each event should have a Safety Officer appointed, who will advise those concerned on safety and have the ultimate responsibility for making decisions in relation to the swim being on or off on the day.
  • If the seas are rough and weather deteriorates, they should defer the event to a more suitable day without question – if in doubt do not take a chance on running the event.
    Many participants will not have swum since the summer and the temperature of the water has now dropped considerably. It is a fallacy that alcohol will keep you warm when entering the water; in fact, it has the reverse effect and could kill you. No alcohol should be taken before or after the swim.
  • Please use our Open Water Safety Leaflet to prepare for your swim here
  • Cold water can cause cold shock and hypothermia in minutes because the temperature of the water at this time of year may be below 6° Celsius in Fresh Water and 10° Celsius in Seawater.
  • Ensure that you have safe access and egress with appropriate shallow shelving beaches, steps, slipway or ladders as appropriate. People should be mindful that steps leading into the water might be dangerous due to the increased growth of algae in wintertime. Organisers must ensure that they have had the access and egress cleaned in advance of the swim to avoid slips and falls.
  • Fancy dress outfits can seriously impair your ability to float – please do not wear when swimming.
  • Swimmers’ remaining in the water for extended periods in a gesture of bravado is not acceptable and leads to hypothermia. Our message is “Get In, Get Out and Warm Up”.
Published in Water Safety
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Experienced open water swimmer Paddy McNamara has appealed to people to be mindful of sea safety after he rescued a young man from Galway Bay yesterday.

McNamara pulled the man in his early twenties from the water after he got into difficulties seconds after jumping off the Blackrock tower in Salthill.

The man was taken to University Hospital, Galway where he received treatment for suspected cold water shock.

McNamara, a Galway native and year-round long-distance sea athlete since the age of 11, had just had coffee after his own swim on Monday morning when the incident occurred.

“I had changed and had had my coffee and croissant, and was talking to some other swimmers at the time,” he said.

Together with several others, he threw a lifebuoy to the young man, who was with three other friends.

When the young man wasn’t able to hold onto the buoy, McNamara threw off his coat and swam in his clothes to reach him.

He helped the young man to safety, where he was assisted ashore.

“Jumping in at this time of year is at risk of cold water shock...people have to realise that the sea is not the same every day,” McNamara said.

The surge in interest in sea swimming into the winter months during the pandemic has led to an increase in incidents involving rescue agencies.

Water Safety Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI issued appeals last week to take precautions and check weather forecasts and tides, after eight rescues in the space of four days.

Last weekend, fishermen Patrick and Morgan Oliver recorded another rescue when they assisted a swimmer who required help at Palmer's Rock off Salthill.

Published in Galway Harbour
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