Sandycove Island to Dock Beach 5km swim

By | September 16, 2019

On Satueday the 7th of September, three members of The Blackwater Triathlon Club, Dave Mulcahy, Declan O’Keeffe and Stephen Dalton, travelled down to West Cork to take part in the Sandycove Island to Dock Beach 5km swim.  This event, which was raising funds for the stroke unit in CUH, involved a full lap of Sandycove island, then a half lap as far as the second corner then past Sheep’s Head, around another head then a 1.3km stretch back to Dock beach. The Entry to the event is tightly regulated for safety reasons and swimmers had to have completed a minimum set of open water swims in the previous year to take part. The decision to stay in skins, no wet suit, is based on the training in low temperatures done by the swimmer already this year, also the knowledge that it could be two hours in the water and the confidence to know you will finish!  A lovely calm sea greeted the swimmers as they arrived in Sandycove on Saturday morning. The swim was due to start at 09:00 and registration was open at 08:00. Following the safety briefing approximately 40 swimmers set off from the slipway in four waves,  5 minutes apart. The water was cool hovering between 13 and 15 degrees as the swimmers entered the water. There were plenty of kayaks and a safety boat to accompany the swimmers as they made their way to land. The water around Sandycove Island was crystal clear as the swimmers made their way around the island, watched by the goats on the shore. The swim started on a rising tide so the participants had to swim around a rock outcrop before the first corner, which was then completely covered by the time they came around again on the second lap.  As they swam, the swimmers were treated to the sights on offer in the clear water, including beautiful rocks, seaweed and shoals of sprats. As they left the island behind with Sheep’s Head to their left, the swimmers encountered some slightly more turbulent conditions in the open water, with some rolling seas making sighting a little more problematic. On the plus side, the water warmed a bit at this point and as the swimmers looked to their right all they could see was the horizon in the distance. The longest bit of the swim was a 1.3km stretch from the last head to the Dock Beach. Being able to see the beach, even though it was still at least 25 minutes away, was a challenge at that stage of the race. Fortunately all the swimmers made it safely to shore, with the BTC trio all completing the swim in less than two hours. There was a great sense of achievement for the lads when they had had a drop of hot soup and a sandwich to warm up again afterwards. It was a very well organised event, for a very good cause. Definitely something for the bucket list.