On Sunday, 17th July last, the annual Martin Duggan Memorial Swim was held on the Blackwater River at Fermoy. Despite unfavourable conditions, forty-two swimmers took part in this two kilometre freshwater race.
Of the forty-two swimmers, twenty wore wetsuits and a further twenty-two swam in their skin. Twenty-four of the forty-two swimmers were under the age of eighteen, making this the first ever competitive open-water swim in the Republic of Ireland where more than half of the participants were under eighteen, a far cry from the stereotypical image of the sport. There were twelve swimmers from New Zealand taking part in the race, also. The boys from Auckland Grammar School and their coach Graham Beaumont were on a tour of Ireland and the UK following their successful English Channel relay in early July.
The swim started ahead of time at three minutes to three in the afternoon. The fastest twenty started first, followed shortly by the remaining twenty-two swimmers. The first swimmer home was Freddie Bassett of Laser Mount Eden SC, Auckland, who finished in a time of 25:59.6. The Martin Duggan Memorial Shield for the Youngest Swimmer was awarded to Ruth Herlihy of Fermoy SC, who completed the two kilometre course, sans-wetsuit, aged just twelve years and sixty-seven days. Thanks to the Duggan Family for donating the prize.
The organisers would like to say a special thanks to Fermoy Rowing Club, Blackwater Sub-Aqua Club and Phoenix Kayak Club. Without the input of these three clubs, the event simply could not be held. We would also like to thanks Noel McCarthy, Carry Out off-license, who sponsored all of the cold drinks on the day. Huge thanks must also go to Jackie Power, our event referee, all of our timekeepers, turn judges, spotters and other volunteers who gave generously of their time. On behalf of the swimmers, we would like to thank all of those who slavishly made hundreds of sandwiches, baked and prepared teas and coffees for the afters of the swim. A final thanks to Fermoy Camera Club who documented the entire day for us, and provided the photo-finishes.
Full results can be seen here. Hopefully, we will have better weather and a few more spectators next year!