It was a busy day in Cork on Saturday the 30th of June this year as the 14th edition of the ‘New’ Lee Swim took place. Originally held in 1914, the annual Vibes and Scribes Lee Swim in Cork has become one of the top open water swimming events in Ireland and indeed, the world. This very popular event was ranked No 17 in the World Top 100 open water swims in 2014. Conditions on the day were a little cloudier than of late, but pleasantly warm, and huge number of spectators turned up to support the swimmers. The Swim takes place over a unique 2,000m course, comprising a 1,700m downstream leg in the North Channel of the Lee from St Vincent’s Bridge to Customs House Point and an upstream leg of 300m in the South Channel to the finish at Clontarf Bridge. This year the Blackwater Triathlon Club had a big contingent of swimmers taking part on the day, all of whom had just two things on their minds, surviving the Lee and retaining the team prize that the club won last year. It was a Trojan effort from all the BTC members and everyone did fantastically well. The water was very pleasant but tidal conditions on the day meant that average race times were between 5 to 6 minutes slower than last year. However, despite this, the Blackwater members exceeded expectations posting excellent times on the day. Having won the team event last year the club were pipped at the post this year and finished second to Mallow by a mere 11 points. Over the last three years the Blackwater Triathlon Club has been second, first and second again in the team event. This is an incredible result for the club when you consider the quality of the competitors from many different swimming clubs on the day. This is a testament to the commitment shown by the club to training and showed the benefits of the hard winter training in the pool and the club’s structured swimming programs.
Our swimmers all performed well in their individual categories on the day. In the non-wetsuit categories Owen O’Keeffe finished first in the 25-29 years age group and Frank Hallissey finished second in the 35-39 years age group. In the 50-59 age group Declan O’Keeffe was second and Adrian O’Keeffe was fourth. Dave Mulcahy, another one of our open water swimming experts was seventh in the 60-64 year age group. Some of our younger members came to the fore in the wetsuit categories, with Anna O’Keeffe and Alice Boeg finishing in fourth and eighth places respectively in the girls under 18 years category. Well done to both of these young athletes, obviously following closely in their fathers’ wake. The other Blackwater ladies who took part on the day also did very well with Niamh Fleming coming home third in the 50-54 age group and Mary Collins fourth in the 55-59 age group. Jonathan Kenneally was second in the male 35-39 year category with Martin Feeney coming sixth. Aidan Sheridan was third in the 40-45 years age group, with Justin McCarthy and Declan Rea finishing first and fifth respectively in the 50-54 age group. In the 55-59 years age group Julian Boeg was second and Brian Baker was third. There were many other BTC swimmers on the day who also finished strongly in some very strong categories, but space doesn’t allow us to list them all. Well done to the BTC crew and all the other swimmers who took part on the day. It was a very successful day for the club and a marker of what can be achieved. We’ll be back next year to hopefully get our cup back and increase our haul of medals. There was a brilliant atmosphere and spirit around the race. Credit must go to the organisers and the large numbers of volunteers who made sure that once again the race ran smoothly and safely.