Courtesy of Vanessa Daws, 4th Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Mile Swim, Ireland.

Vanessa Daws produced a video of the 4th Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Mile Swim in Lough Dan Scout Centre, County Wicklow, south of Dublin, Ireland.

The swim did not quite make it under the 5ºC (41ºF) International Ice Swimming Association maximum water temperature, but 12 athletes took the 5.6ºC (42ºF) challenge while being supported by nearly 100 individuals serving as doctors, medics, paramedics, ambulance paramedics, mountain rescue personnel, kayakers, photographers, family and friends and adjudicators.

Fergal Somerville reported, “What a day and what an event. Today, the Gods worked against a valid international ice mile swim by warming the cold and dark lake to a balmy 5.6ºC, whipping up the wind through the valley to a nerve-chilling gust and bringing with it the odd downpour to bring the spectators to the same temperature and wetness of the participants.

The day started with the erection of a marquee fit for a celebrity wedding. The swimmers were preceded by adjudicators (Patrick Corcoran, official International Ice Swimming Association referee) and timekeeper (Ian Conroy), Red Cross Ambulance and crew, Wicklow Mountain Rescue ambulance and crew, leading ice mile medics Nichola Gilliland, Brian Marsh, Aoife Daly and their team and the essential kayakers from Kildare, Dublin and further afield.

Then came the hardy souls and their fervent supporters from Dublin, Cork, Clare, Limerick, England, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Isle of Man, and Belgium.

A mere 0.4ºC prevents it from entering the record books, but did not deter those that entered the water and swam their hearts out. And not only did they swim well, but recorded super times. John Ryan led out the seven men and hit the front at an incredible pace, replicating his superb 15:58 1 km in Armagh last week. He retained his blistering form and was chased avidly by Ram Barkai, Noel Browne, Fergal Somerville, and Pearse Ryan.

After one lap, the field lined out like rosary beads and quite a few rosaries were being recited. John swam well, very well. I know, because I saw every stroke and as I neared him as he neared the finish. The chase heightened through the four laps and eventually John kicked to maintain the lead at the finish; first man home in a super time.

The ladies race was taken on by a group of five; a famous five of renowned distance and now distinguished distance swimmers. Carole Laporte, who swims between Isle of Man and High Rock in Malahide most weekends, demonstrated a classic swimming style by finishing two minutes ahead of the field and within seconds of her counterpart, John’s time.

At the culmination of strenuous effort each swimmer was escorted to the exit area by husband and wife team, Peter Heffernan and Patricia Heffernan. They were met by Nichola and team and assessed for condition. Each swimmer made it to the tent and dressed and enjoyed a recovery to less than frozen status. This valley was completed covered in the ice age and the deep ravine gouged by the glacial morass which carved through to the Irish Sea.

This year’s mild winter prevented the much sought after sub–5ºC.

Results:
John Ryan 26:40
Fergal Somerville 26:44
Carole Laporte 26:45
Ram Barkai 28:30
Rachel Ni Dubhghaill 28:45
Carmel Collins 29:15
Fergus Cooney 38:07
Annette Daly 38:10
Kevin Cooper 40:04
Pauline Barker 40:54
Noel Browne
Pearse Ryan

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