Over 100 to compete in 2017 'Fly Shannon' Thomond Swim

Swimmers from all over Ireland to race

Donn O'Sullivan

Reporter:

Donn O'Sullivan

Email:

donn.osullivan@limerickleader.ie

Over 100 to compete in 2017 'Fly Shannon' Thomond Swim

Joseph Mooney, UL Swim team passes King John's Castle during the launch of the Thomond Swim

Limerick Masters Swimming Club are hosting the annual 'Fly Shannon' Thomond Swim for 2017 this Saturday July 8.

The start time will 6.15pm will make for some spectacular views on the river for sports fans.

The course remains the same as previous years starting at the slipway at St Michael's Rowing Club before travelling upriver to a turning buoy above the Curragower falls.

Swimmers will then go under the walls of King John’s castle and back down to finish at St Michael’s with an overall distance of 1800m making it a challenging event in the country’s largest estuary.

The best viewing points for fans of the event are on Sarsfield Bridge, Clancy Strand and O’Callaghan Strand and at both the start and the finish.

The swim is again designated as a qualifying race for the prestigious Liffey and Dun Laoghaire Harbour swims in Dublin thus creating a greater interest among open water swimmers.

It is also expected that the number of competitors in the Thomond event will be in excess of 100, with the 6.15pm start time suiting visitors from further afield.

Limerick Masters Swim Club will also be welcoming participants from Cork and Galway and from several clubs throughout the mid west.

The Thomond Swim was run for many years up to the early 1990s when it was sadly abandoned due to the deteriorating quality of water in the river.

With the many improvements to the drainage of the city and the improvement of the water quality, which is now of bathing water standard, Limerick Masters Swimming Club re-established the event in 2008.

After some trials, the modern course as described above was settled upon.

Some of Masters veterans including John and Liz Ryan, Deirdre Cross, and Mark Dempsey have the distinction of having competed both in the old course and the modern event.

Recent winners include Chris Bryan who has represented Ireland in many open water swimming events and narrowly missed out on qualification for the Rio Olympics.

Former ladies event winners include Fionnuala Walsh, one of Irelands outstanding open water long distance swimmers who has also completed the English Channel swim and Manhattan Island Swim amongst others.

The event is supported by the Limerick Marine Search and Rescue and the Civil Defence who provide safety cover while the swimmers are in the water.

Details and entry to the event can be found on the Limerick Masters website at www.limerickmasters.com

Entrants must show they have completed an open water event of at least 1500m in the last 12 months.

With good weather expected over the weekend, the Thomond Swim is a unique event for both participants and spectators alike.