Strong turnout for Limerick’s Thomond Swim

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

THE man behind the annual Thomond Swim has called for the event to become part of a wider city festival, after more than 50 people took part in the annual showpiece.

THE man behind the annual Thomond Swim has called for the event to become part of a wider city festival, after more than 50 people took part in the annual showpiece.

Dee Maguire, chairman of the Limerick Masters Swimming Club, made the call as the annual Thomond Swim once again drew a strong field of swimmers, both professional and amateur, as well as a high level of support from the city.

Despite less than perfect weather, some 55 swimmers plunged into the Shannon for the 1.7km swim. The competition - which was revived in 2008 after a gap of 20 years - saw swimmers travel from St Michael’s Rowing Club, up to the Thomond Bridge, before turning back, and going towards Howley’s Quay.

The swim takes place every September, when the temperature of the famous river is between 15 and 20 degrees celsius.

Northside councillor Tom Shortt blew the whistle to launch the swimmers into the waters in five different groups based on ability.

Preparation paid off for top swimmer 22-year-old Shannon man Chris Bryan, who finished second in the race with a time of just over 20 minutes.

Chris, who trains at the UL area said: “I felt it was a bit choppy, there was a strong current on the way back, but you are fine on the way out. I am delighted with today. There was a great crowd out, it is great to swim in Limerick, as this is where I train.”

Mr Maguire said he is hoping to meet City Council staff shortly in a bid to develop the event into something “which will match the hype the Liffey [Swim] gets”.

“It is becoming a bigger, more civic event year on year, and it is hugely important for the city. Even five or ten years down the road, we could have a festival around this,” he added. Cashel swimmer Eamonn McGuinness was first to arrive, with the swim complete in under an hour.