Monday, 10 May 2010

Sandycove for Dan?

Back in December 2009 Ned Denison circulated an email regarding Dan Martins Global Triathlon, the said event was initially due to commence on 8th May this year. Ned suggested that swimmers around the world enter the water at the exact time as Dan to honour the start of his epic endeavour in a show of solidarity. A swim was planned to start at 9am in Sandycove Ireland last Saturday.

As soon as I was aware of this I booked our flight tickets and Ned kindly offered us some accommodation. All set. As luck or rather bad luck would have it, Ned was then required in the States for the 2010 International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Not a problem...I contacted Lisa Cummins (the legend of two way English Channel swim fame) and before long we were booked to stay at the Actons Hotel, Kinsale. Sadly due to the economic situation in the UK some of Dans Sponsors were unable to meet their commitments in terms of financial support, as a result of which the Global Tri is now delayed for a year.
Despite the setbacks it was agreed that we would still visit Ireland as planned, it was after all one of my favourite places and the training would be beneficial for Windermere and future plans.

Friday afternoon KGB and I took the short flight from Newcastle to Cork, on arrival we were met by hailstone storms, suddenly it did not seem like a good idea to be swimming in the sooner had we collected the hire car, that the sky cleared and remained that way for the majority of the weekend. The 20km drive to Kinsale was over in a flash and we were soon settled in the hotel (view from the room above), we had a relaxing evening with an excellent meal at Hobys on Main Street.

Saturday morning and high water at Sandycove was expected for 3pm, we therefore arranged to meet Lisa at the hotel for Lunch beforehand then travel together. Prior to meeting we wandered around town and as usual I grew a little anxious about the coming swim. I exchanged texts with Emma France and ascertained that the solo swimmers training in Dover Harbour had been assigned 60 minutes. I passed this info to Enda Kennedy who was heading to Galway for at least 45 minutes. Well he was doing 30 til I gave him a gentle nudge!

Lisa arrived bang on time we exchanged hugs and began to catch up (it had been two years since we were together) I sat in complete admiration and awe as she answered my questions and told us details of her training and the two way swim the previous summer. You have no idea what massive levels of training Lisa was doing.She is without doubt, unbelievably focused, driven and her mental strength has no boundaries.

Following soup and sandwiches we drove the short distance to Sandycove to find several swimmers including Sylvain (English Channel 2009) already in the water, we chatted with those who had already exited the water and eventually decided to attempt a lap of the Island. Whilst we were getting changed Sylvain swam to the slipway and agreed he would swim another lap with us. Lisa had not swam in the sea this year and tried to pretend (badly) that she was concerned about the water temperature. Sylvain splashing us did nothing for my eagerness.
After much teetering and shrieking we joined Sylvain and headed to corner one, not so bad, yes it was freezing cold but the water was calm enough, until we turned the corner to the familiar walls of water, it was interesting to say the least, difficult to breath, difficult to stroke correctly and almost impossible to sight ahead. Thank goodness for Sylvain he remained in front allowing me to follow in safety. Once we reached corner two it was a different world, I thought Sylvain was taking photos with a small camera he produced from his trunks but it was actually a video! We rode the waves back to the slipway.

I was very pleased with the lap in the slower than normal time of 40 minutes, I had secretly hoped for it to be 45 minutes the same as Enda but it was still a step up from Thursdays 27 at Seaton. Lisa made the tea as we warmed up (she showed not a single sign of a shiver and stood there in a denim mini skirt and vest top laughing like it was the Bahamas!!) We laughed a lot as we chatted and I regained my composure.
That night we dined at The White House (not the Obama residence but a nice pub in Town) drank too much Guinness as usual and I slept like a baby.

Sunday after an easy morning, I studied Lisas swim chart and observers report and we again met at Acton's pre swim.
On arrival at Sandycove, Sylvain stated he was aching from his morning swim in the Inniscarra resevoir but would join us to swim a second lap. Together with Lisa I swam out, again the rear side of the island was tough going, not quite as bad as Saturday but still very difficult. After turning corner three I felt the pace rise and I was flat out to keep up with mermaid Lisa, I could see our escort swimming towards us, after a brief chat the three of us headed off for the second lap. The water temperature was becoming a challenge but I knew it would be all over in no more than forty minutes.  After 1 hour 17 minutes we were back at the slipway, I was and remain very pleased with time in the water which my watch stated was a maximum of 52f.

It took me a while to warm up we laughed just as much as the previous day, after which we had to say our goodbyes head off to the airport and journey home. I had spoken on email with another Cork swimmer called Gabor, he too swims at Sandycove and has an English Channel swim booked for September this year but our paths had not crossed due to his work commitments...So it came as a massive shock when in duty free to be approached by a Hungarian man who introduced himself as Gabor..what were the chances of that..he apparently spotted my CSPF hoody and decided it must be me!

Thankyou so much to Lisa, Sylvain and Ned for making all this happen, we will be back for sure.

1 comment:

Enda Kennedy said...

Excellent post Mark. Jesus you looked cold, but you did what you came to do.... well done, sorry to have missed you both.

Enda K