Open water swimming at Sandycove started with a core group which included Steven Black, Mike Harris, Imelda Lynch, Bill Steigleder, Ossi Schmidt, Joe Donnelly and Angela Stubbs. They created a critical mass of 1 and 2 mile swimmers at the Island. Marathon swim training then started at Sandycove Island in late 2004 and since then this small island location near the city of Cork has produced 19 English Channel solo swimmers and 39 relayers. The initial marathon impetus was provided by Ned Denison who had contacted Martin Cullen (Dublin, Inisbofin, Killary Harbour and Cavan) who organized eight relay teams for the Channel in 2004 and 2005. Martin helped transfer much of the basic knowledge from the great history of Irish Channel swimmers from the Dublin area and Northern Ireland. The Sandycove Island swimmers have also completed other famous swims such as Manhattan, Catalina, Jersey, Zurich, Gibraltar, Santa Barbara, Rottnest, Lough Erne and Windemere plus many new local “firsts”.
In the last eight years, it appears that only the group training in Dover Harbour (of which many also train in the Serpentine in London) have produced more channel swimmers. Sandycove Island is now mentioned in the same line as the famous training locations of Jersey, San Francisco, Melbourne, La Jolla , Serpentine and greater New York City.
Several elements came together to help Sandycove develop so quickly. They are presented in no particular order as each one is seen as a critical element in the success of the program. Together they represent a critical mass of interest, participation, communication, encouragement and organization.
Why is Sandycove such an ideal location for marathon swimming? Find out here!
We have a number of events each year based around Sandycove marathon swimming: