After last week’s midnight marathon and 400km cycling exploits it was the turn of the Blackwater Triathlon Club swimmers to put in some impressive performances this week.
Eighteen club members took on the challenge of swimming a distance of 4 kilometres down the Blackwater from Fermoy. While they were doing that, 3 other club members, Dave McCarthy, Jonathon Kenneally and Jim Crowley, set themselves an even bigger challenge as they attempted to swim 10km. Initially both the 4km and 10km swims were going to be downriver in the Blackwater. Unfortunately, that was not possible on the day, so the 10km swims took place up in the Knockananig reservoir. In order to get to 10 kilometres, the intrepid trio had to swim just over 21 laps of the reservoir. Jim, the slowest swimmer of the three decided to get a head start on the other two so that they would all finish at approximately the same time. So, at 8.30 on Saturday morning he began his 10km attempt. The morning was cool and overcast and there was even a light shower, but recent warm and dry conditions meant that the water was an ideal temperature for the event. Dave and Jonathon arrived at 9am but didn’t get into the water until about 9.25am, at which point Jim had completed nearly three laps already. For each of the three swimmers it was all about getting in to a steady rhythm and trying not to burn out too early. Each lap took around 10 minutes and it was just a case of counting them down. Just short of the four hour mark Jim had completed his 21 laps, but since the other two were still swimming he decided to soldier on until they were finished as well. Eventually Dave and Jonathon completed their 10 kilometres after 3 hours and 29 minutes (Including short fuelling breaks). Jim, seeing that his two compatriots had finished, decided that he had had enough too, finishing a very impressive 24 laps in total. He had completed over 11.5 kilometres in 4 hours and 25 minutes. This was an amazing feat of physical and mental strength by the three lads. They had trained for a downriver swim, which, even with the relatively sluggish current in the river at the moment, was a far easier proposition. Well done to all three of them.While the 10km challenge was going on at Knockananig, 18 members of the Blackwater Triathlon Club, plus assorted support people, were gathering at the Blackwater Sub Aqua Club headquarters on Rathhealy Road for the 4k swim challenge. As well as the swimmers we were joined by various other club members and family members to man the kayaks and ensure the safe running of the event. The crew from the Blackwater Sub Aqua Club also provided some boats and personnel to keep everything as safe as possible. The swim started at 11.15 am. The day was still a little overcast, but as with the reservoir, swimming conditions were excellent on the day, although the river was a few degrees cooler than the reservoir. The swimmers started in three groups of 6 to follow social distancing rules. Each group was accompanied by a few kayaks as they set off down the scenic river course. While it was a downriver swim, recent dry weather conditions meant that the flow of the river was reasonably sluggish on the day. For most of the swimmers it was the first time on this section of the river and all were very impressed by how beautiful it was. The event wasn’t a race but there were still a few friendly rivalries going on amongst the swimmers as they made their way down the route. The first swimmer home was the youngest. Anna O’Keeffe actually started in the third group to leave but managed to pass out everyone else as she finished the 4k swim in just under 57 minutes. All of the swimmers finished the swim successfully and really enjoyed their day out on the Blackwater. Well done to all of them and thanks to everyone who came along to help out. Once again a special thanks to the folks from The Blackwater Sub Aqua Club, who have supported us in all of our water-based events over the years.