The Growing Success And Legend Of Sandycove Island

The original article is posted by Steven Munatones with pictures on The Daily News of Open Water Swimming since Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ned Denison, Swim Ireland's National Open Water Committee chairman, announced the details of the Cork Ireland Distance Swim Camp from June 12th - 20th.

"Swimmers can join for all nine days – or just a few. Most of the swimming will take place around Sandycove Island in Kinsale, Cork, Ireland."

"This spectacular training location boasts 11 out of 11 successful local English Channel solo swimmers since 2005 (including one two-way swimmer). Other local local swimmers have done marathon swims in Rottnest, Gibraltar, Manhattan, Zurich, Santa Barbara and all over Ireland."

"There is something magical about the water and the location which combines with a critical mass of local marathon swimming success.

Based on recent results, Sandycove Island is one of the top five global training locations for English Channel swimmers."

The camp has a track record of success with 12 of the 13 successful swims by individuals who trained at the camp with a chance of an English Channel solo swim in 2009. "Several of these swimmers claim that the last day of the camp, a six-hour swim in pretty cold seas, was more difficult than their English Channel swim," said Ned.

At €40 for the camp and an additional €50 for the June 19th swim, it is undoubtedly a bargain for the value offered and cost incurred.

Ned explains, "Invitations to the camp are based on recent proven open water distance swimming experience. For Irish swimmers, this means a 5K or longer open water swim, and for visiting swimmers, this means a 10K or longer swim in order to ensure the maximum safety of all participants. There are two swims per day. Compared to the English Channel, it is just a tad colder. Compared to training in Dover Harbour, Sandycove expose the swimmers to more tidal flows, wind, chop and they will at most times be further from the safety of a beach than in Dover."

Ned does a great job in preparing the athletes for the rigors of marathon swimming, "All swimmers should come mentally prepared for cold and rough water and terrible weather. This camp is meant to be a physical and mental challenge."

The main swimming venues used at the camp include Sandycove Island, Blackwater River (swimming upstream), Iniscara Reservoir (fresh but filled with silt), Fermoy Reservoir in Garrettstown, Lough Ine (salt water lagoon with soft coral reefs), Ballycronin, Speckled Door and Around the Sovereigns where the water temperature is expected to range from 14°C (sea) to 17°C (fresh).

Ned has thought of everything to prepare Channel aspirants for the challenges of marathon swimming, "Swimmers may also get a call at 10 pm one night to get them in the water at 3 am – just to give you the most possible discomfort. On the second-to-last day, swimmers show up at the appointed time and place. They will be done less than 9 hours later. We plan to mess with their bodies and minds, so we will not tell them in advance and may not tell them the details until they need to know – or until they are done. We call it the Total Body/Brain Confusion swim."

"On the last day, having mentally and physically beat the swimmers the previous day, the swimmers will do a straight six-hour swim – which will be a channel qualifier if needed."

Get beat up, qualify and then achieve success - sounds like a great deal for channel swimmers.