Open Water Swimming has really grown in popularity, in Ireland, in recent years.
As we reported on SportsNewsIreland over the New Year, Portnablagh’s Anne Marie Ward was voted the World’s top female Open Water Swimmer of 2010 against strong competition which included Olympic stars from Brazil, United States and Australia as well as from Great Britain, a tremendous achievement for the 44 years old Donegal native. Now comes news of a new event in Ireland in September.
“Immersed in Ireland” (i3) is a new two day open water swim event which will take place on Lough Derg at Killaloe/Ballina over the weekend of the 16th, 17th and 18th September, 2011. The mass participation open water swim event, the first of its kind to be held in Ireland, is being organised by Shannon Development and the University of Limerick Activity Centre, with the support of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, North Tipperary County Council and Clare County Council.
Speaking about the significance of the event, Pat Daly, Tourism Division Manager, Shannon Development, the tourism and regional development agency for the Shannon Region, said: “As part of its tourism development strategy, Shannon Development has been targeting new sports events that have the potential to attract additional visitors to the Shannon Region and generate extra revenue. The new i3 Swim event is the latest of five world and international events secured by Shannon Development, in partnership with the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, for the region this year. In identifying this niche opportunity for a mass participation open water swim event, we hope to attract up to 2,000 swimmers and generate €2 million for the local economy. The event will take place at the UL Activity Centre near Killaloe in Co. Clare.”
“Sports events in the Shannon Region last year generated in excess of €60 million, and research has indicated that there is a real appetite for a swim event of this distance and nature, both domestically and internationally. If successful, we would hope to make this an annual event,” added Mr. Daly.
Talking about the competition, David Mahedy, Director Sport and Recreation at the University of Limerick, said: “We are very excited to be working alongside Shannon Development to bring an event of this size to Lough Derg. It will be a great opportunity to showcase to people young and old the fantastic amenities we have to offer in the Killaloe/Ballina area.”
Three separate swim events are planned in order to cater for as wide an audience as possible, from 14 years old and upwards: a 0.8 km (Snamh Beag – 1/2 mile) event open to all; a 1.60 km (Shannon mile) open to all; and the 5 km main attractor event aimed at more accomplished swimmers. ‘The Long Way to Tipperary’ 5 km swim will begin at the UL Activity Centre, Twomilegate and finish at the Ballina Water Park recreational area. This is the official Olympic distance for open water events.
It addition to the 2,000 swimmers who are expected to take part in the weekend event, 5,000 spectators are expected to attend, bringing a welcome boost to the local economy in the Killaloe/Ballina area. Other mass participation sports events with which Shannon Development are associated and which are held in the Shannon Region include: The Great Limerick Run which attracted 6,000 participants and the Sky Ride Etape Hibernia which attracted 2,000 cyclists in its inaugural year from all over Ireland, the UK, Europe and the US.
Further information and entry details on the “Immersed in Ireland” (i3) open water swim event : www.i3swim.com or contact Paul Ryan, Tourism and Marketing Manager, Shannon Development – tel. 061 361555.
New sports events secured this year by Shannon Development, in partnership with the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, to coincide with Limerick’s reign as European City of Sport for 2011 include:
- The European Duathlon Championships 15th-17th April
- The EPC European Powerlifting & Singlelift Championships 2nd-5th June
- The Single Speed World Championships cycling event 26th-28th August
- The Immersed in Ireland (i3) Open Water Swim events 16th-18th September
- The World Powerlifting Championships 11th-19th November