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Nathan Timmins, Rosie Foley, Riana Casey, widow of the late Paraic Casey, at the presentation of the Paraic Casey Munster Openwater Swimmer of the Year award with Noel Browne Fastnet Swimming Association sponsors.

Clare’s Rosie honoured at long distance swimming awards

Champion Chatter

THERE was a poignant moment long distance swimmer Rosie Foley at an awards’ ceremony when she received one of her latest “Triple Crown” awards.

Padraic Casey passed away swimming across the English Channel in 2013 and his widow Riana presented Rosie with an award in his honour.

The 2022 Padraic Casey Munster Swimmer of the Year award was presented at the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association Awards on Saturday evening.

“I met his wife for the first time on Saturday and she presented me with the award, which was a poignant moment,” said Rosie.

“Padraic is gone but he is not forgotten in swimming circles. I was very proud to get this award because Padraic was a fantastic person. I never met him, but I met loads of his friends that swam with him so I was honoured to get this award,” she said.

She was also presented with a Certificate of Recognition in honour of completing the Triple Crown of long distance swimming – the 33.5km English Channel Swim in 2014, the 45.9km circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Ireland and the 33.5km Catalina Channel Swim in 2022.

In addition, the 50-year-old was inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame, joining a small group of about 35 other people who have achieved this accolade since 2018.

She was back on the sideline in Clarisford, Killaloe, on Sunday morning supporting her daughter, Siofra who lined out with the Ballina/Killaloe/Scariff U-14 Girls Rugby side who played Garryowen.

The former Irish rugby international joked she was accompanied by her “long-suffering” husband, Pat Minogue, who often acts as kayaker, support crew, and financier for these swims.

“It was lovely to meet swimmers, support crew and organisers at one event because Covid-19 brought into sharp focus the amount of time and effort that people put in.

“It was fantastic to be able to celebrate and catch up on stories with others. It is lovely to be recognised. If I can do it, loads of other people can do it.

“Because I am a woman, I would hope this would open the door for loads of females and girls that goals are achievable once you put your mind down to it.

“It was a privilege to be present and witness one of the relay teams that went across the North Channel aptly named “Bits Missing” as they had parts of their lower limbs missing. We are all equal inside the water once you respect it.

“More and more people are doing open water swimming and taking on 500 metres or one kilometre or whatever challenge they can work towards,” she said.

Apart from Lough Derg, her favourite swimming spot is Fenit outside Tralee in Kerry, which is a very safe place to swim, and where she has made numerous friends.

Her first Fenit to Banna Swim was 16 years ago, which prompted her to join Tralee Bay Swimming Club and it organises 500 metres, two, five and eight kilometre swims.

She recalled night swimming from Pier Head to Killaloe Bridge for the “Pier to Beer” on a Friday night, where swimmers could go for a drink and a pizza after this event.

“I am forever grateful for sport from rugby, which we were born into with my father, Brendan and my late brother, Anthony playing rugby. I remember joining the St Louis Athletics Club, which became Derg AC.

“We met a lot of people through cross country running, we played GAA with Smith O’Brien’s and soccer in Limerick.

“I met great characters and a diverse group through the Triathlon Club in Killaloe and then I have made friends with a fantastic group of swimmers, organisers and coaches through open water swimmers.

“I can go around the country and I nearly have a contact in most places. I am very grateful for this because it sustains you through tough times,” she said.

She said the five kilometre Clarisford Park Run attracts a large crowd on Saturday mornings, and is another very good physical and mental health exercise.

She acknowledged her parents are very supportive, collecting and dropping their grandchildren to training and rugby matches in St Munchin’s Limerick.

“Olive, myself and Pat are so grateful for, however happy they are to taxi their grandchildren. We take every precaution before extreme events by attending our cardiologist, Deirdre Ward in
the Croi Centre, Dublin, and try to raise some funds for them.

“As it was pointed out to me by a friend, your parents made you the way you are. I am blaming them a little bit,” she joked.

Rosie and Pat listened to the Ireland V Australia match on the radio and got home for the important part when substitute Ross Byrne slotted over a difficulty penalty near the sideline to earn Andy Farrell’s men a hard-earned three point victory.

She was thrilled with the performance of Munster’s Jack Crowley, who started at out-half after Johnny Sexton was forced to withdraw due to an injury in the pre-match warm up.

The mother-of-three has completed long distance charity swims in memory of her brother, the late Munster and Irish legend Anthony Foley, who died on October 16, 2016.

All proceeds have gone to the Mid-Western Cancer Foundation, children’s charity CARI and CRY, which provides screening and free bereavement counselling for families at risk of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

Other long distance swims include the 2013 Wicklow 10 km, the first unassisted swim of the length of Lough Derg totalling 38 km in 2014, earning ILDSA’s Performance of the Year Award, 2019 Strait of Gibraltar 2020 Galway Bay and 2021 Tralee Bay – the Maharees to Fenit.

She was the first female to swim seven kilometres around Cork City in July 2021 and won the Shannon Region Open Water Swim League Winner 2021.

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