OVER 100 swimmers will take to the waters of the River Shannon for the annual Thomond Swim, which has grown in size and reputation in recent years.
The Limerick Masters Swimming Club is hosting the swim at an earlier date this year, on Saturday July 20 at 4.15pm, having previously been held in September.
It is anticipated that this year’s swim could have a record number of entries, attracting as many as 120 swimmers from across the country. Among those expected to take part is Irish open water swimmer Chris Bryan, from Shannon, who is in training for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
This year the Thomond swim is designated as a qualifying race for the prestigious Liffey and Dún Laoghaire harbour swims thus creating a greater interest among open water swimmers from the east coast.
Dee Maguire, of the swimming club, said the Shannon has the cleanest water in the country, though it is also often the coldest.
“The race is getting bigger and better every year,” he added.
The competition was revived in 2008, after a gap of 20 years, with some 60 swimmers taking part last year. The course will remain the same as previous years - starting at the slipway at St Michael’s Rowing Club competitors will swim up river beyond the Curragower falls, towards Thomond Bridge, and pass by King John’s Castle where they will turn and swim back downriver to finish at Howley’s quay, if the construction of the boardwalk is complete. The course length is 1800m.
The best viewing points for the event will be along O’Callaghan Strand and Clancy Strand on the north side of the river, Sarsfield Bridge and Howley’s quay at the finish. The top competitors generally finish the swim within 20 minutes.