Well what can we say? What a great day we had at our inaugural Sliabh Beagh Swim Festival at Lough Major on Saturday. We were so delighted to host this event and get swimmers back competing after a very long break. It wasn’t our usual style, a new kind of experience for us as a Club and for many of the swimmers but we think it’s fair to say the event was a massive success.
We had swimmers travel long distances to be part of our festival. We were especially chuffed with the Cork lads making the journey to Monaghan. We had swimmers travelling to compete from
Lisburn, Lurgan, Dublin, Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford, Tipperary, Roscommon, Lanesboro, Cavan, Armagh to name a few.
Ballybay’s Lough Major was looking fantastic and it turned out to be a super location for our event, with lots of space for our food stalls, picnics, registration desk and presentation area.
The day itself started with a flat lake, clear blue skies and a 3km swim. This event was a capacity swim with fifty swimmers taking to the water. The swimmers had to swim two laps of the lake and it
was a great competitive event. Such was the interest in this event, we had people coming up on the day looking to participate but sadly we couldn’t let them enter.
We had events for our young people after; U12 – a closed 200m event for Sliabh Beagh swimmers, all of whom did themselves proud. Many of these swimmers had not swam in a lake previously and
they all showed great determination and bravery. We had open swims for U14 (400m), U16 and U18 (800m) where many of our swimmers showed great courage and discipline and we had some great competitive races. To finish up we had a 1500m open swim. This was another hotly contested swim and well done to all swimmers, some of whom had never done this kind of distance previously. Some of our teens were unstoppable, competing in more than one event, well done to Susie who took on the 3km swim and the 800m! A special well done too to our Masters’ swimmers who took on this event despite being quite new to swimming. It shows great courage to swim a full lap of a lake when you are used to having a wall every 25m in a pool!
The atmosphere on the day was one of relaxation, happiness and encouragement with a competitive edge. We had hot breakfasts, we had hot lunches, we had scones and jam. We had red baseball hats
and wooden medals. What wasn’t to love?!
Special mention must go to our main sponsor SwimKit who very generously sponsored the 3k swim, donating goggles, prizes and more to every swimmer. We are so grateful for your generosity and we know you enjoyed the day.
We also had local sponsors who support our Club throughout the year. Special mention must go to Tommy Martin Fuels, McElvaney Motors, The Monte Carlo (Neeson family), Coyles Pharmacy and
last but certainly not least, Coral Leisure. We thank you for your support. We hope you enjoyed the atmosphere and thank you for coming along to do the trophy presentations.
We are very grateful to all who helped on the day, especially Michael Angus (Swim Ulster Open Water Safety Officer) who did a great job, Monaghan Civil Defence for keeping us all safe and Monaghan County Council for their unwavering support of the event. We would also like to thank Councillor Aidan Campbell, a long-time friend of the Club who came as part of his new role as Cathaoirleach. We invited Heather Humphreys, TD to come to the event, which she did, and we thank Heather for her support and encouragement and for giving her time. Thanks to Muckno Tri Club for their help and advice in organising the event. Lastly thanks to our Club members, new and old, their parents and everyone else who had a role to play on the day.
Feedback has been extremely positive since the Festival and we are delighted our first venture into this kind of event was so successful.
Kudos must go to Head Coach Pearse McGuigan on having the great idea to begin with and to the Committee who worked tirelessly to make it happen. We will see you all again, bigger and better,
Full results are available on the club social platforms on Facebook and Twitter and the Club website [download results SB OWF RESULTS (Updated P,27-6-21),V2(1)]