This Saturday saw the first sea swimming event to take place in Rinville, Oranmore, organised by the Atlantic Masters Swimming Club, in aid of the RNLI. It was a great day out for all with a novice 250m swim taking place before the main even, as a taster for people who are new to open water swimming. The day started at 1pm with food stalls, an ice-cream van and the RNLI on site giving demonstrations.

The main event took place at 4.30pm with open water swimmers coming from all over to take part in the 2km swim. There was even an English Channel swimmer Sara Marley who also swam around Jersey island. Despite the sunny weather the sea state was choppy with a strong wind and waves meeting the swimmers as they left the pier and headed 1km out into the bay. Fighting the waves and the cold water they passed a number of large yellow makers to lead their way through the waves. It was a mass start. They took off hell for leather, swimming over each other to get out in front of the pack. No time for politeness or personal space. At the 1km turning point the hardship was over for the swimmers as they surfed the waves back to the pier. That’s when the race to the finish began and no one was holding back. There was a great crowd to cheer on the swimmers as they came in, which is always greatly appreciated.

There were changing facilities and hot showers provided in the Galway Bay Sailing Club for the swimmers when they finished which is pure luxury when you have been in the cold sea for close to an hour. There was also hot and healthy vegetable soup with brown bread to warm them up. With over 100 swimmers taking part in the main race and many more spectators coming down to show their support and enjoy a great day out, hopefully this swim will become an annual event. Hugh thank you to all the organisers, Atlantic Masters, RNLI Galway, OMCSU, Galway Bay Sailing Club, Oranmore Gardai, Pierce Purcell, Irish Water Safety, Swim Ireland, Civil Defence, Deputy Mayor Gabe Cronnelly, Galway County Council and all who sponsored the event.