Supporting the Ice Mile Swimmers

Last Sunday was spent supporting three brave swimming friends in their quest to be added to the very exclusive ‘IceMile’ list by completing a mile in water under 5deg. Rob Bohane, Ciaran Byrne and Finbarr Hedderman were the brave 3 to take on the challenge. In fairness to Rob, he had made super arrangements with the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team who lead us up the mountain by Jeeps, to a lake that was reading 4.8deg for water temp and very cool 3.0 for air temp.


Lough Iochtar in Kerry Mountains

The Snow on the peaks of the mountains were picturesque and with the sun trying to break through we were in a fantastic spot. We had numberous thermometers in and out of the water monitoring water and air temp the whole time.

Finbarr, Ciaran & Rob, starting off for their 8 loops of 200m

Finbarr, Ciaran & Rob, starting off for their 8 loops of 200m

Each of the swimmers had a nominated ‘person’ to have eyes on them on every stroke with stopwatches for splits and counting strokes etc. I was in my wetsuit (as was Eddie) ready as backup if needed and we had 3 extras around the course also watching the swimmers. The course was accurately marked out in 100m loops, it started 10m into the water and the swimmers swam to the next 100m mark (Me, in my wetsuit + High Vis), turned and went back towards the pebble beach (where Eddie was in his wetsuit).  All the time the nominated person was watching their swimmer, looking for any signs of hypothermia, my test to the lads was giving them an encouraging ‘kick your legs’ shout when they turned past me, I could tell by the facial reactions I got from them that the heard me – they were passing the test of comprehension! 

Finbarr, on his last turn.

Finbarr, on his last turn.

Ciaran, turning for another loop.

Ciaran, turning for another loop.

Rob, coming passed me to turn around.

Rob, coming by for another loop..

It was impressive to watch these 3 take on this challenge, it’s not for the faint hearted, and it showed they had put in the work in getting acclimatised to the temperatures as best they could before hand. Their Stroke rates barely changed, their lap times varied slightly, but nothing that drew concern, in fact I think Finbarr did a negative split, his second half was faster than his first!. The 3 of them exited the water under their own steam (between 31-34mins), were able to get changed with a small bit of help of ‘their’ person (due to numb hands!) but overall they took on the challenge, and won.

Sunday was a group effort and I know the 3 lads won’t mind me saying that, all the helpers and observers that were there were in awe of the determination from the 3 swimmers, but as a team of people we worked well, before, during and after. The swimmers were the main priority, but with many experienced supporters around, I know I felt safe being there too. Huge Thanks to the Kerry Mountain Rescue team of John x2 & Angela, and our own crew of Pascal, Eddie, Lisa!. So with a cup of Tea and a chat and some more Tea and biscuits, we left the mountain as a very pleased group, and to top it off, the scenery on the way back down was even more impressive as what we had at the top! What a Day 🙂 Well done Finbarr, Rob & Ciaran, you deserve your places on the Ice Mile list!. 

Heading back down the track/road. Killarney is in the Distance

Heading back down the track/road. Town & Villages in the distance!

Always remember, whatever the goal–keep your eye on it.


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