It was a busy day in Cork on Saturday the 13th of July this year as the 15th 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. It was a beautiful summer day in Cork on Saturday, with temperatures well in to the mid twenties, perfect for the huge throngs of spectators who 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 regaining the team prize that the club so narrowly lost out on last year. It was a Trojan effort from all the BTC members and everyone did fantastically well. The water was very pleasant and tidal conditions on the day meant that average race times were between 5 to 6 minutes faster than last year. The swimmers also got to swim under The Lee’s newest bridge, The Bridge of Remembrance, which was also a very popular viewing point for spectators this year. The 21 swimmers who were swimming under the Blackwater Triathlon Club banner on the day posted excellent times and once again BTC was awarded the team prize, the Tadhg Philpott Memorial Cup, beating Mallow by a single point.
Over the last four years the Blackwater Triathlon Club has been second, first , second and now first 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 Frank Hallissey finished second in the 35-39 years age group, while in the 55-59 age group Declan O’Keeffe was second and Julian Boeg was third. Dave Mulcahy, another one of our open water swimming experts was 8th in the 60-64 year age group and Dave Dowling was 10th in the 45-49 years category. In the wetsuit categories our youngest participant on the day was Anna O’Keeffe, who finished second in the girls under 18 age group in 28:22.8, finishing two places higher than last year. She has her sights firmly set on first place in 2020. 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 again this year and Kate Lawton finishing 5th in the 30-34 age group. In the men’s 35-39 age group, Jonathon Kenneally, Martin Feeney and Peter O’Brien all had top ten finishes, with Adrian Collins also swimming well on the day. Christian Board, Aidan Sheridan and Vinnie McCarthy all did well in the 40-45 years age group. As he did last year, Justin McCarthy won the Gold Medal in the 50 – 54 age group. Dave Bartley and Conor O’Geran also competed in that age group. Brian Baker, Declan Rea and Sean Lomasney completed the BTC contingent on the day in the 55-59 age group. Brian bettered his placing by two places from last year’s race, winning the Gold Medal, while Declan placed third, just 40 seconds behind Brian. 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 retain the team prize 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.