The water was a good bit colder as usual due to the not so fantastic weather we have been enjoying since April. Still it didn't stop the swimmers from entering the water with a big grin on their faces, knowing that they would be swimming along some of the nicest stretches of water in Europe. Yes Europe, and we are proud of that. The Garavogue river, which starts in Lough Gill, is short but beautiful. And it is the beauty of Co.Sligo and especially Lough Gill which has been well described in the poems of WBYeats.
This year, all the swimmers departed and finished at the Back Road at the Garavogue pontoon.
So, first it was up to the 10km swimmers (wetsuits and skins) to start, shortly followed by the 2km skins. After the 2km, it was the turn for the relay swimmers (4 x 500m). I must say all swimmers and their support kayakers are a bunch of brave people who show that Sligo is the premier #adventurecapital. The 10km swimmers spend today between 2 to 5 hours in the water, which is an amazing feature with the temperature of the water.
Today,i went to the Lough Gill Hospice Swim, an event which get's bigger and bigger each year.
The event is inspired by the late Neill McGarry. The swimmers compete for the Neill McGarry memorial trophy, but they also raise vital funds to maintain essential palliative care services in the North West. The event is well organized and requires a lot of preparation in order to guarantee the safety of all the swimmers. This is achieved by an amazing amount of support kayakers and boats.
There was a fantastic family festival as well with food stalls, play area and dunk tank , farmyard animals,... So, as the Lough Gill Hospice Swim gets bigger and bigger each year, it is the dedication from the organizing committee and the many volunteers which makes this event in one of the best open water swimming competitions of the country.