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Monday, September 23, 2013

Ireland Becomes The Center Of Open Water World

With Cork, Ireland soon to become the center of the open water swimming world due to its hosting of the Global Open Water Swimming Conference and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, it seems appropriate to also honor those early pioneers and visionaries who helped develop open water swimming in Ireland.

While many anonymous and not-so-anonymous individuals have played a part in making open water swimming and marathon swimming what it is in Ireland, it is widely acknowledged that Billy Wallace has played a major part for many decades.

Wallace has put together a wonderful history of the early years of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association (ILDSA) including handwritten copies of the minutes of the historical first meeting of the ILDSA held in September 1966 by Hon. Secretary Fred Parkes.

In the first annual report in 1967, Hon. Secretary Parkes gives credit to John Moffett whose words turned into actions. “[Moffett]...had been talking about forming an Irish Long Distance Swimming Association for quite some time. He finally persuaded a few of us that it would be to the advantage of Irish Swimming to have a body primarily interested in distance swimming. So after the Copeland Islands to Donaghadee swim in August, 1966 a caretaker association was formed was was instructed to call a general meeting later in the year and to invite interested people to attend. These instructions were carried out and the inaugural meeting of the Irish Long Distance Swimming was held in the International Hotel, Belfast on 22nd September 1966. Mr. J. Moffett became the association’s first general secretary. Mr. Louis Harris was elected chairman and Mr. Jimmy Boyd treasurer."

Their vision was remarkable given the climate of the era: advocating the concept of an inclusive All Ireland Association with hopes to bring a sense of community to swimmers.

And they have certainly achieved that, both domestically and internationally.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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