On Saturday 9th of February the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association held their 17th Awards Ceremony in Belfast.

The ILDSA was set up in 1996 and over the years the sport of open water swimming has grown tremendously all over Ireland and the ILDSA has been paramount in this success by offering advice on cold water swimming, training methods and also by offering encouragement and support to both beginners and seasoned marathon swimmers alike.

Three marathon swimmers Annette Cullen, Fergal Madden and Helen Colfer from the Atlantic Masters were in attendance to receive their medals for their successful English Channel Relay swim in August 2018.

The team travelled to Dover in 2017 to attempt the English Channel but barely got to dip their toes in the water due to stormy weather conditions in the Channel. After 4 days of sitting and waiting the tough decision had to be made to come home to Galway and leave the dream behind. In Jan 2018 the team and crew regrouped and with all the lessons learned it was back to training. They headed back to Dover and set off for France at 11:57pm on the 5th of August. With the amazing support of their crew and fellow club members Gemma Garvey and George Curley the team reached France in 13hr and 4 mins, meeting every challenge the channel threw at them with energy, enthusiasm and the confidence that the many hours of training and practice would stand to them.

Fergal Madden was also nominated for Connacht Swimmer of the Year 2018 which was well deserved following his great 2018 season in the water. On top of his English Channel relay he also completed his 5th Galway Bay Solo Swim, his 3rd Lough Gill 10k Swim and has 2 Ice Miles and 6 Ice KM swims under his belt.