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James Lynch and Rosie Foley

Lough Derg swim challenge

Former Irish Ladies rugby star, Rosie Foley and an Ogonnelloe TG4 presentation director will bid to make history by becoming the first two to swim the full 38 kilometre length of Lough Derg from Portumna to Killaloe this Saturday.

James Lynch and Rosie Foley estimate it will take them 15 hours of continuous swimming to make the lake crossing depending on weather conditions and other factors.

While Mr Lynch will be wearing a wetsuit for the event, Ms Foley, plans to swim without the wetsuit as she hopes to qualify for an attempt at the English Channel in the future.

Up to now the pair have been training in pools since January and from late April they have been swimming long distances in the open water, to help them prepare for the event.

The two swimmers and their support crews will be leaving Portumna on Saturday morning around 7am will subsequently make their way south along the lake to Killaloe.

After six months of tough training in the pool, sea and lake the bid to enter the history books is almost upon them.

In an interview with The Clare Champion, Mr Lynch recalled five kilometres was the longest distance he had swam in an event such as the Boru triathlon and the Claddaghduff in Galway in 2012.

Starting last January, he was originally coming from a base of two to three kilometres a session before increasing his pool sessions to five kilometres and did five instead of three days swimming. In February, he tried to put in a 10 kilometre swim day once a week with two 5 kilometres sessions and by the end of March he was able to do a 15 kilometre and even a 20 kilometre in the pool.

His biggest issue was boredom as all he could see for hours at a time were white tiles.

“I started in the open water again in May and built up to over 20 kilometres in the lake. I found it tough swimming and training as I was on my own most of the time in Galway, so the chance at swimming in the lake with Rosie and some of the support crew has been great over the past month or so.

“The biggest challenge has been the mental one for me as without a training partner you can allow self doubt to creep in that can be catastrophic. I had a week of it in late April where I really struggled with confidence and my belief in my own ability.

“It took some harsh and kind words from friends to help me through,” he recalls.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge now and I am confident that I will get through it without too much trouble. I’ve built up a good support team of Kayakers and safety crew for the day, all of whom I know will push me to keep going even when I am finding it tough,” he adds.

He hopes the swim will raise public awareness and funds for Irish Water Safety and SOAR.

By Dan Danaher

About Dan Danaher

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