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Galway Bay swim reimagined for 2020

By Sarah Finnan

July 22, 2020 at 11:11am

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Swimmers are being encouraged to take to the sea this August for the Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West.

An annual event, this year marks the 15th year of the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West. Due to take place throughout the month of August this year, the swim would usually see around 150 people take to the water to cross the bay.

However, with concerns over Covid-19 still at the fore in people's minds, organisers have had to think on their feet and reimagine the 2020 swim.

Starting off in Aughinish in Co. Clare and ending at Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill, the swim is now one of Ireland's biggest and longest one day swims. Known to sell out each year, it comes in at a distance of around 13km. Calling on swimmers to clock their 13km this August, over 700 people have done it since the swim first began 14 years ago.

Speaking ahead of this year's event, Brian Thornton, Director of Cancer Care West said:

“The swim is much more than a fundraiser; it's the swimming highlight for so many swimmers across Ireland. We needed to somehow still come together this year so we have decided that a 13km registered swim could still bring this swim into people's lives this year.

The swimming community in Ireland is a very tight-knit one, we have all felt a little displaced through this pandemic, so coming together through the strokes gives us all a sense of place and purpose again.”

Having raised over €100k last year, organisers are hopeful that they can do the same again but with a drop off of between 50 to 60 per cent in fundraising this year, doing so calls for all hands on deck.

According to Brian:

“All face to face charity fundraisers have had to stop so we are banking on this swim to try and ensure services for 2020. The monies raised will help fund support services for cancer patients and their families through our support centres."

Commenting that this year's event allows participants to take to the water wherever they may be, swimmer Paddy McNamara added that "it would be great to see a local and international element to the event".

Anyone interested in partaking can do so by swimming 13km (this can be broken up throughout the month, making it much more manageable for all levels and abilities) and raising €100 for Cancer Care West. All participants will receive a personalised Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim Technical Tee.

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