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Friday, May 23, 2014

The Way Things Were: Irish Champion Of Champions

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Irish hosted the Champion of Champions event in Sandycove Island in May 2008. In 11ºC (51.8ºF) waters, the field attempted 9 circumnavigations around the famed island swimming mecca.

Kevin Murphy, Ned Denison, Sylvain Estadieu, Lisa Cummins, and even a young Owen O'Keefe were among the stars were participated.

Denison recalls the event. "5 miles, then 3 miles and then 1 mile around Sandycove Island with the shortest time to be declared the winner. But the conditions were tough With more than 1,000 laps around Sandycove Island completed to date, [I felt] the 9 laps of the Champion of Champions were in the top 10 ugliest."

How ugly was it? "I count strokes. Normally, it is 500 from corner 1 to 2, but I stopped counting on the first lap when I hit 1,200. I wasn't sure ANYONE was going to make the full 9 laps."

Only 4 of 35 completed the 9 laps in Speedos and a few more in wetsuits. But with a uniquely aquatic mindset, the lack of success spurred many of the participants on to future greatness. Denison recalls, "It was in many ways a disaster, but then again 9 swimmers thought of it as unfinished business. They later soloed the English Channel with Lisa Cummins doing a double."

Irish Champion of Champions 2008 - Non-wetsuit Results

1. Ned Denison, 9 laps finished in 245 minutes
2. Ed Jeffries, 9 laps finished in 325 minutes
3. Kevin Murphy, 9 laps finished in 352 minutes
4. Enda Kennedy, 9 laps finished in 382 minutes
5. Niamh Fitzgibbon, 8 laps finished in 282 minutes (partial completion), later did English Channel
6. Niall O'Crualaoich, 8 laps finished in 285 minutes (partial completion)
7. Imelda Lynch, 7 laps finished in 268 minutes (partial completion)
8. Finbarr Hedderman, 7 laps finished in 275 minutes (partial completion), later did English Channel
9. Mark Robson, 6 laps finished in 210 minutes (partial completion)
10. Mark Blewitt, 6 laps finished in 231 minutes (partial completion)
11. Owen O'Keefe, 5 laps finished in 160 minutes (partial completion), later did English Channel
12. Steven Black, 5 laps finished in 197 minutes (partial completion)
13. Tadhg Harrington, 5 laps finished in 211 minutes (partial completion)
14. Breccene Ennis, 4 laps finished in 157 minutes (partial completion)
15. Lisa Cummins, 4 laps finished in 168 minutes (partial completion), later did 2-way English Channel
16. Jane Murphy, 4 laps finished in 168 minutes (partial completion)
17. Ciaran O'Connor, 4 laps finished in 180 minutes (partial completion)
18. Nuala Moore, 4 laps finished in 219 minutes (partial completion)

Irish Champion of Champions 2008 - Wetsuit Results

1. Eddie Irwin, 9 laps finished in 234 minutes (later did English Channel)
2. Eilis Burns, 9 laps finished in 255 minutes
3. Stephen Lynn, 9 laps finished in 270 minutes
4. Liam Maher, 9 laps finished in 286 minutes (later did English Channel)
5. Donal Buckley, 9 laps finished in 297 minutes (later did English Channel)
6. Kieran Nolan, 9 laps finished in 311 minutes
7. Ciaran Byrne, 9 laps finished in 322 minutes (later did English Channel)
8. Niall MacCarthy, 8 laps finished in 368 minutes
9. Sylvain Estadieu, 8 laps finished in 280 minutes (partial completion), later did English Channel
10. Kevin Moloney, 7 laps finished in 264 minutes (partial completion)
11. Ossie Schmidt, 6 laps finished in 222 minutes (partial completion)
12. Noel Whitty, 5 laps finished in 175 minutes (partial completion)
13. Cornelius Bohane, 5 laps finished in 179 minutes (partial completion)
14. Danny Coholan, 4 laps finished in 137 minutes (partial completion)
15. Dave Mulcahy, 4 laps finished in 175 minutes (partial completion)
16. Amy Wolfe, 3 laps finished in 95 minutes (partial completion)
17. Liz Buckley, 1 laps finished in 39 minutes (partial completion)

Mark Blewitt is shown above.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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