One of Ned Denison’s great contributions to Irish Open Water swimming is his email qualification list, sometimes just called the list, or the 9k list.
It’s a simple idea. Each year as people progress in experience in open water, they can add their name to Ned’s email list, which is stepped in increasing difficulty. The list isn’t limited to Sandycove swimmers, but actually covers many people nationwide (but with more of us from Sandycove represented). Each year the list starts again, last year’s achievements are gone and we all start fresh.
There are three levels, 3k, 5k and 9k. And people can be on it for either wetsuit or togs (or even both). People make it to each level based on their own submission (validation is not required). Each level will receive notification of appropriate upcoming events. Making it to the highest 9k level means being on a much shorter list receiving notification and entry to more select longer events such as Cork to Cobh, which require considerable experience (or at least ambition or masochism).
The list requires a lot of work for Ned to maintain, for which we are all grateful. The most recent revision for Ireland for 2011 has 273 entries who have completed the 3k minimum in togs or wetsuit.
The wetsuits numbers prove, contrary to what may be the opinion of how things are done here in Ireland, that wetsuits are fully embraced in our cold waters. In fact at the entry 3k level, 102 of these were togs while the majority were wetsuit swimmers, which is exactly the way to have in it, to encourage new swimmers who can develop their confidence and distance, and some of who will subsequently shed the wetsuits.
At the 5k level in 2011, 67 completed in wetsuits and 88 in togs, whereas in 2010, 44 completed in wetsuits and 52 in togs, showing clear progression in numbers at this vital middle distance stage.
Of the 273 people on the list in 2011, 35 have completed a 9k open water swim in togs, and 22 in wetsuits. In 2010, there were also 35 togs, and 17 in wetsuits. With the number of EC aspirants due for 2012, especially locally, the 9K list is likely to increase again.
Someone also gets the 5k swim done early, puts the pressure on everyone else, I usually wait until the water temp. is over 10°C. get the 5k done.
Thanks Ned, for the organisation and useful info!