When I booked into Ned Dennison’s long distance swim camp in Ireland back in 2013 I learned that as part of the camp swimmers were invited to register for the Vibes and Scribes Lee Swim in Cork.
As a swimmer travelling from Australia to attend the camp I had no idea about the event other than following the link to the nomination page and proceeded to make travel and accommodation arrangements along with other swimmers who were also attending Ned’s camp.
When we arrived into Cork for the 2 kilometer race the swimmers registration was friendly, quick and easy. There was a bubble of excitement and anticipation in the air as swimmers gathered for the prerace briefing. Once the briefing was over, the dozens of swimmers trundled their way along the streets of Cork following the winding Lee River to the starting point wearing little more than swimmers, sun cream and flip flops.
It was a beautiful, hot, sunny afternoon. When we arrived at the start location we gathered in a large shed and were quickly sorted into our starting wave order.
At our groups time we stepped onto a starting pontoon which spanned the Lee River then upon the starter’s gun we were off. It was a great race, swimming under bridges, and through the City of Cork!
The river banks were lined with cheering people, it’s a real buzz to swim with people clapping and cheering you from every vantage point they can find.
The water was warmer than I had expected, the swim course well marked and easy to follow. The large yellow finish pontoon stood out from far away and beckoned a little more effort as I approached the finish line.
There were plenty of officials and timekeepers to enable accurate timing and an orderly finish, swimmers then exited the water to the side of the course. Once out of the water we were treated to a good spraying of water and pointed in the direction of the plentiful outdoor fresh water showers to rinse ourselves off.
One of the most memorable things about the swim for me was that everyone waited for the final swimmer to complete the course and there was a resounding cheer from the crowd for her efforts.
The race now over but fun was just beginning, there were plenty of café’s and restaurants open for swimmers and their friends and family to enjoy a bite to eat and in true Irish fashion we enjoyed music and dancing until the presentation, which again was very well organized.
I was honored to win the Denis Ollivere Trophy which is worked out on a formula of a notional ‘world record’ for each age group which is calculated by scaling up from the 800m freestyle records published by FINA. The ‘world record’ is then divided by the swimmer’s time, producing a percentage score. http://www.corkmasters.ie/events/leeswim/2013/VSLS2013_DenisOllivereTrophy.pdf
Congratulations to everyone involved in putting this wonderful annual swim together, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in the Lee swim, if I lived a little closer I would be a regular participant for sure!