WITH an advancing high pressure set to hover over Ireland for the weekend, the weather seems set to favour the annual Thomond Swim, taking place in Limerick city on Saturday.
A record entry is expected to take part with some of the country’s top open water swimmers taking to the River Shannon for the 1.7km swim.
This is the first year that the competition is also open to swimmers wearing wetsuits and a large contingent of budding Michael Phelps’ have taken up the challenge of competing in one of Limerick’s top annual sporting events.
Organisers hope that large numbers of people will come out to view the event, which begins at 7pm from St Michael’s Boat Club slipway.
“We’re delighted with the interest shown in this year’s event and we’re really encouraging everyone in Limerick to come out and support the swimmers on Saturday night,” said Thomond Swim PRO, John Garrett.
The swim will head up past the Curragower Falls to Thomond Bridge, pass by King John’s Castle and return to finish at Howley’s Quay, watched by roaring crowds.
“The best viewing points for the public are on Sarsfield Bridge, Howley’s Quay and along the Riverside Boardwalks on Clancy’s Strand and O’Callaghan’s Strand,” explained Mr Garrett.
A strong contingent from Limerick Masters Swimming Club will take on one of the toughest challenges of their annual calendar and will be joined by other swimmers from Dublin, Cork and Galway.
Local swimmer Chris Bryan, who was the first Irish open water swimmer to race in an open water swimming event for Ireland at a World Championships will also take part.
Some of the competitors have previously swam the English Channel.
“We’re looking forward to a fantastic swim this year particularly as Limerick prepares to be Irish City of Culture 2014 and the event passes by many of the city’s historical buildings and landmarks, which add to the spectacle for both swimmers and onlookers,” said Mr Garrett.
Limerick Marine Sea and Rescue will patrol the Shannon and keep an eye on the competitors during the swim and any money raised will be donated to the service.
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Gerry McLoughlin said the event was “sure to provide a fun outing for all and shouldn’t be missed”.