A Further Shore – V- The Greensward

Swimming is a lot of things to different people at different times, even to me. But what it isn’t, is a method of travel. We may travel long distances while swimming, we may even be swimming to a destination, but we are not traveling per se.  But somehow, I’d traveled. The buildings stopped before I…

A Further Shore – IV – The Town

Subconsciously, I’d pulled the goggles from my face, feeling the familiar discomfort around my eyes as the suction released. They dangled weightless from my fingers. Above the seafront buildings rose a hill and a town. A road led through the near buildings to disappear into tiered houses that fronted a low hill. I was stunned.…

Burke's Island & reefs, Kilfarassey

A Further Shore – I – The Arch

Winter reduces my range. I swim at the Guillamenes, along the cliffs and shore of Tramore Bay.  Maybe, just maybe, I might get down to Sandycove for a lap. Days pass when I see no-one, arriving, swimming and leaving without a soul. Spring comes with almost imperceptibly warming water and air and increase in the number…

wm_Custom House Keystones (6)

Swambivalence

I live on the bank of one of Ireland’s longest rivers: The river Suir. At 115 miles length, you’ll appreciate therefore that Ireland is a small country. The river flows through three counties: Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford. The river forms the Tipperary-Waterford border for many miles and features in the most famous Kilkenny ballad. But it is most…

The Sum of All Fears

The Abyss

I made the image below for my American Channel swimming friend and one of the MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming co-authors  Elaine Howley. I’ve seen a few articles on coping with open water swimming fears recently, and I though I’d take a contrary and more visual tack. If you suffer from the open water heebeejeebies,…

Scout The Doglet awaits my return

Swimming Glendalough Upper Lake

I didn’t significantly increase my list of new swimming locations in 2013  and have decided to rectify that in 2014, hence the recent trip to Kilmore Quay and the following weekend when we visited the valley of Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains. Situated in the Wicklow National Park, Glendalough  is one of the scenic jewels of…

and then there's this thing lampray eel

Water nightmares

It’s been a while since I posted any nightmare fuel for open water swimmers, so I thought I might collect a few of my favourites together. We’ll start gently. Close encounter with a humpback. One from years ago on the blog, the frilled shark, aka dragon shark. Remember Brutus the giant Australian salt-water crocodile? A…

The white line of the rip can be seen on the horizon, along with St. Patrick's Rock.

Riptide swimming at Kilmore Quay

Kilmore Quay, in County Wexford, right down in Ireland’s south-east corner, is one of the best known and oldest fishing harbours in the country. The village itself is small, picturesque with many thatched houses, and like the rest of the local coast, very exposed with few trees able to survive the constant onshore winds. West…

Ice Mile Dilemmas – IX – Safety Is Everything

The Average Person? As a responsible extreme cold water swimming promoting organisation, it’s frustrating that the IISA doesn’t seem to appreciate its responsibility in promoting safety and reducing risk. The three-article critique on the IISA rules comprehensively illustrate many of the inherent problems, omissions and contradictions. The concerns of my correspondents and myself with Ice…

Celtic triskele, symbol of Manannan

The Crowded Oceans: Swimming with Spirits

It is unsurprising that primitive peoples, faced with a world whose range and patterns they couldn’t comprehend or predict, imbued all aspects thereof with a supernatural aspect. Before the development of monotheism, the belief in a single god, often traced to Egyptian Pharoah Akhenaten in the Fourteenth Century B.C., that desire to invest every natural force or occurrence with a…

Coffee and Oatmeal stout Dungarvan Brewing Company IMG_0861.resized

Review: Is this the ultimate open water swimmer’s beer?

Craft beers are the thing, right? Local, interesting, more flavour, more fun. One of humanity’s oldest craft’s giving the blandness of the global industrial homogenisation of food and taste a hopeful poke in the eye. One of the better things of living in Ireland, because of the country’s still large agricultural sector, is our access to local fresh food…

TempoTrainerPro

Review: Finis Tempo Trainer Pro

The Finis Tempo Trainer, the original (and still available  in some outlets) model, was another interesting idea from Finis that, as usual with said company’s electronics, wasn’t particularly well executed. I first bought one back in 2008 or ’09. It’s most obvious flaw was that you couldn’t replace the battery. So it was random luck…

Perfect is the enemy of good

When I started back swimming for the first time since I was a kid, it came a huge but only slowly realised shock that I was the not the excellent swimmer I’d been as a young teenager, when I swam front crawl and butterfly in club for a year or two. I really don’t recall how long…

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Diana Nyad to confess all on Oprah!

How many times have I started a posted a post with similar words to; “Strange things happen in marathon swimming?“ Ah, how the worm turns. One reader of LoneSwimmer.com is a pool swimmer with their sights set on open water and their first 10k swim, always a big milestone. Their research led to LoneSwimmer.com and accidentally to my…

Big bag o' paddles

Review: Swimming paddles (Yet another update)

My pool bag now includes the silly total of five four five six five different types of paddles! (Update 2013: I added another paddle and removed one, so I’m refreshing this review). (Update March 2014: Added another paddle, subsequently removed yet another paddle. See below for comparison of PT Paddle and Complete Fitness Coaching Palm Paddle) Warning:…