AN Ennis man is set to brave the elements by taking part in an attempt to swim the English Channel this week. Ian Murphy, along with other colleagues from Irish Life Investment Managers, will attempt a relay swim of the waterway in a bid to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society.
Ian and his colleagues have been training hard with The Irish Association of Seafood Companies since last October with the aim to submit three relay teams to swim the channel.
Ian, who now lives in Dublin, said he is sure that the team will make the crossing. “I feel we have a strong, confident team that will complete the crossing, weather permitting.”
Explaining why he decided to take on the challenge, he said, “Starting out last year as a weak swimmer, this has been a tremendous personal challenge. It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience swimming the Channel while training with a great team of people around my company. Ultimately, I want to raise as much funds as possible for this hugely important cause.”
The English Channel swim is considered the most iconic sea swim in the world. It is the Everest of open water swimming, covering 21miles (32km) as the crow flies. Swimmers have to cope with cold water, changing sea conditions, current/tide moves (adding extra miles), jellyfish and debris. For the relay teams, seasickness is a big challenge considering you are on a very slow boat for 12-18 hours or more.
From a swimming ability point of view, of the 23 swimmers that volunteered for the project, only four came from a strong swimming background and none had previous experience of open sea swimming.
Sixteen swimmers will attempt the crossing spread across three teams. The crossings will be monitored and verified by the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) under their strict rules.
Ian will be among the Breac group, who will go out to swim from this Friday until Tuesday and they will be followed by the other two teams two weeks later.
Speaking about the preparations for the crossing, Ian said, “Back in October 2008 we took an intensive weekend class on the total immersion swimming technique to help with endurance swimming.
“For 11 months now we have been putting in the hours at the pool every week along with sea swims to reach a minimum of 10-12km every week per swimmer. In our final stages we have added midweek sea swims and weekend relay simulations. This continued up until the end of August when we tapered off the training intensity. Make no mistake, it has been really tough balancing work, swimming, fundraising and home life as well as dealing with constant tiredness and burning up energy.”
He described the Irish Cancer Society as a very worthy charity and one that everybody involved in the swim wanted to help raise money for.
“Cancer affects all our lives and is a scourge for us and our children. The Irish Association of Seafood Companies’ goal is to raise €100k and we have specifically earmarked the funds we raise for the ICS to go equally to two areas – preventative cancer research and the home night nursing service for terminal patients in their last days.”
Donations can be made online at www.mycharity.ie/event/ilim_iasc_english_channel_swim; cheque made payable to IASC-Channel Swim; cash/bank transfer.
You can monitor progress of the teams at www.iasc-swim.com