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Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Lake Of Opportunity

255 swimmers swam at the 2013 Camlough Lake Water Festival at Camlough Lake in Ireland. 146 swimmers competed in the Lord & Lady of the Lake and another 109 participated in the Camlough Lake night swim. For a 2.7 km stretch of water, there was a whole lotta swimming going on.

The Camlough Lake Water Festival calendar is filled from March to September with night swims, aquathlons, TRY-A-TRI’s and the Camlough Lake Water Festival (CLWF) on the last weekend in August.

This August the Camlough Lake Water Festival saw over 650 people participate. The festival kicked off on Friday evening with the 2.7 km Lord and Lady of the Lake swim. 146 swimmers competed with David Graham (30.26) and Lynn Algar (33.16) coming out in first while the water polo matches in the lake were played throughout the weekend.

Also on Friday night was the Night Swim where everyone swims in the dark with glow sticks as their guide. Pádraig Mallon explains, "The premise of the night swim came from Team Camlough who needed to learn the art of swimming in the dark for their team relay crossing of the English channel. Each night swim to date has had a flat calm lake and a star lit sky and this night swim, was no exception." On Saturday morning, the events are focused on juniors. "With excitement and nervous energy each of them signs in and prepares for their race," says Jacqueline Galway. "Parents and children thoroughly participate in these events and healthy competition is evident in the shouts and encouragement given form the sidelines as they exit the swim, in transition, during the run and to the finish line.

 On Saturday afternoon, the Senior 1 km Swim was won in 12.56 by Kristofer Muldoon and 13.56 by Natalie McClean.

For the triathlon community, one participant who started by learning to swim last year explained, "My New Year’s resolution was to “get in that lake”. I had been going to the pool every Thursday evening with Newry Triathlon Club to learn the technique and take part in the training drills. I was in the “baby lane” – and delighted to be there. Santa was very good and left me all my gear, my wetsuit, goggles. Come May I was ready. I went into the lake and got the shock of my life – I thought the wetsuit kept you warm. I did the 250 swim but have to be honest and say that David practically pulled me round as I held on to the pull buoy. I continued all summer practicing in the lake; I could get around the 250, but I always starting and stopping but enjoying it all the same. Things were building up to the Camlough Lake Water festival and myself and my buddy practiced our swim, bike and run a few times. I thought I was ready. So, I went up to the lake on Friday evening and watched all the events, the weather was lovely and the place was buzzing. Everyone talking about what they were planning to do over the weekend."

But things happen in the open water. "[When I] stepped into the water, that’s when it all went wrong for me. I don’t know what happened. It was all tough going. I felt safe and ended up with about 10 buddy swimmers, as I came out of the water to roars and claps. It was a great push on, but I was really was overwhelmed. On the bike and just couldn’t get my breathing, knowing I still had the run to do. I knew the swim was going to be tough for me, but I really thought I’d get the time back in the cycle and the run. My legs were like jelly and I was almost going to quit until an older gentleman grabbed my hand and together we ploughed on. Some of my friends came looking for me on the bikes with water and escorted me like a champion to the finish line. Again, the roars and cheers from everyone was fantastic."

Then the introspection and transformation began. "I was feeling unwell but still delighted that I completed the course. After a medical check and I was free to go. I have ran marathons and cycled miles but this is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It was an amazing journey. The organisers of this festival should be so proud of themselves."

On Sunday, the more experienced swimmers knew what was ahead of them in the Ireland Long Distance Swimming Association 10K Skins / 10K Wetsuit and 5K Ulster Skins / Wetsuit events. Owen O’Keefe won the All Ireland 10K Skins Title in 2 hours 28 minutes with Lisa Comerford not too far behind to take the ladies All Ireland title in 2:29.

The Lord and Lady of Camlough Lake Swim Top 10 Results

1. David Graham 30:26
2. Neil Bolger 30:49
3. Ciaran Hennessy 32:15
4. Lynn Algar 33:16
5. Chris Judge 33:23
6. John Callaghan 33:53
7. AmyMay Garvey 34:08
8. Cian Woods 34:16
9. Conor Fabb 34:53
10. Mark Waters 34:57

CLWF 10km Skins Results

* Owen O'Keefe 2:28:29
* Lisa Comerford 2:29:09
* Warren Roche 2:29:14
* John Glover 3:15:06
* Adrian Poucher 3:15:45
* John Foyle 4:01:33

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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