Courtesy of Ned Denison, Cork, Ireland.

Ned Denison explains the background of a fellow water polo player who has shifted her focus to the open water. “Eilís Burns played six years on the Irish National Water Polo team and has now become the most successful marathon swimming coach in Sandycove, Ireland.”

In addition to her track record in water polo and pool swimming, her roots in the open water go back far.

She completed the earliest marathon swim recorded in County Cork, a 13 km swim from Blackrock Village to Cobh in 1973. She also won seven Hogs 5 km open water events in 2010 and completed a 22.3 km (13.9-mile) swim from Formigues Illes to Medea in Spain in 2015.

But it really is her coaching talents that have made a significant mark on the sport.

Denison explains, “She has a tremendous influence in County Cork to develop 149 local marathon swimmers to date. She coached almost all of the 34 Cork-based 25 km+ marathon swimmers including more than 20 English Channel solo swimmers between 2005 and 2017 including Lisa Cummins, a two-way English Channel swimmer, Maura Twomey from Boston, and myself over her years at Source Fitness, Cork Masters including some from the age of 3.

Remarkably, she insists on not being paid for her English Channel coaching – rather she wants her swimmers to raise charity funds – which has exceeded 100,000€ to date.

She is the coach of Cork Masters and has been one of the critical folks driving the explosion and success of marathon swimming in Cork Ireland since 2004 – a legacy that continues to shape many.

Footnote: On January 5th 2018, she was inducted as an Honour Swimmer in the Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland.

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