The Liffey Swim 2011

Earlier this year, one of my goals was to complete the liffey swim. Well with all the triathlon training and the whole “getting married” thing, it completely slipped my mind. Until the end of july, when I had finished my first Olympic Distance Triathlon in kilkenny.

After Kilkenny tri I decided I had enough of triathlon for a few weeks and wanted to chill for a bit.

But not completely chill. I decided I would see what was involved in getting into the liffey swim this year and added a post on my clubs forum. So with only 4 weeks to go, I had my checklist on hand:

  1. Join OW Swim Club
  2. Get SI (Swim Ireland) number
  3. Complete 4 OW races without wetsuit
  4. All of this by 27th August

So I found out about Half moon swimming club, contacted them, transferred 50 squids and got my SI number within the week. Armed with my SI number, I could now enter OW races. Time to find the races. The only 4 races between then and the closing date were below. I had to complete them all.

  1. 7th August 2010 – High Rock, Portmarnock, Dublin
  2. 9th August 2010 – Guinness SC Charity, Portmarnock Beach, Dublin
  3. 13th August 2010 – Corrib Prom Swim, Salthill, Galway
  4. 14th August 2010 – Lough Owel, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Eep. So 4 races lined up all with in 1 week, and one of them on the other side of the country. Time to talk to the wife. Donna was more than happy for me to treat her to a fancy hotel in galway AND dinner AND a big breakfast AND shopping. What a nice person she is!!

The qualifying races themselves were very interesting. I learned:

  • Open Water (read: Club) swimmers are fucking insanely good. Different class of swimmer to triathlon swimmers.
  • All OW races are handicapped. This means that the good swimmer go off up to 15 minutes after the slower swimmers. This means everyone has a chance of winning. Cool!
  • Distances are estimated, and mostly around 2k
  • The only weather to stop an OW race, is when a small craft warning is in effect. These guys are hardcore.
  • Everyone knows everyone, it’s like a secret society that everyone knows about.
  • Getting stung by a jellyfish isn’t too bad initially. But fever does kick in after a few hours and that’s weird!

Now you’re up to date, and it’s now today, and I’m back chilling after the liffey swim. It was a great experience. Such a great thrill swimming underneath all the bridges Iwalk/drive over every day. And there are A LOT OF THEM. The swim was about 2300m and goes underneath 12 bridges, each one filled with onlookers and well wishers. My wife, her friends, my sister and her family all followed me down the banks of the liffey to cheer me on and welcome me at the IFSC, where we finally finished. It was LONG, but great.

Today was the 91st liffey swim, and my first. Of many many more I hope.