Powerful ‘Local Invincibles’ Share Their Life Learnings Online
An open water swimmer from Carrigaline – 63 year old Tom McCarthy – who has appeared alongside two others in a viral video called ‘The Invincibles’ has received over 200,000 views over the past 14 days. The moving video features Tom McCarthy of Sandycove Island Swim Club and Myrtleville Swimmers alongside Mairead Ni Mhaoileoin and Tom Bermingham from Myrtleville Swimmers.
The age-old activity of open water swimming in Ireland is probably one daily activity that draws only the most ‘hardy’ souls who brave the elements by day and sometimes by night, sometimes in the harshest weather, all year round. No matter what the elements might throw at them, they find comfort and solace despite facing challenging conditions each day. Their claim is that the practice is about truly living.
The open water swimmers swim all year round at different times of the day from different spots around the Cork coastline. Their perspective on life sends out a powerful positive message about how challenging conditions can empower both mind and body.
Search ‘Dulux Weathershield - The Invincibles’ on YouTube to see the video.
Thanks to Chris Lindhorst and Siobhan Russell for the photography.
As a former Captain of all three of Ireland’s tall ships, he had a very different relationship with the sea. He compares his relationship with the sea to that of an old reliable, comforting friend. He always has his togs in the car, should he ever want to pop in. He also loves sharing the benefits of the open water swimming with others; once noting that he encouraged a friend whose son recently passed away to swim with him in the sea as a form of therapy. In time, the escapism of swimming helped him overcome his loss and be able to feel joy again. Tom, who is now 63 years of age, has been swimming all his life. He says of sea swimming; “You feel more alive, its like escaping into another world. There’s something about the cold, fresh water that squeezes out your troubles and makes you carefree. There’s also a whole other world under the sea that people often forget exists”. Tom swims locally, in Myrtleville, Sandycove and Roberts Cove.
As a local, he truly knows Myrtleville’s seascape and community. He finds that swimming generates an almost euphoric feeling that forces his troubles away.
For him, its not just a social gathering, but it also has a monumental effect on his mental and physical health. Tom is now 77 years old and has been swimming in Myrtleville, since he was around 13.
Tom says, “swimming in the sea gives me the ‘feel good factor’”. Tom swims most mornings at 7am with his friend for about 30 minutes.
Tom has never drank alcohol or done drugs, but imagines that the feeling he gets when he’s swimming is a similar effect, “It feel goods, you closes your eyes, go into a trance and it clears your head”.
Mairéad Ní Mhaoileóin
Known to the Myrtleville Swimmers as an independent woman who follows the beat to her own drum, Mairead finds her swims therapeutic. She loves the social aspect of the Myrtleville Swimmers, but can also appreciate her relationship with the sea itself. To her, the sea allows her many different experiences at different times of the year.
Now 62 years old, Mairead says of the feeling when she first enters the water, “Cold - why do I do this!” but says that feeling disappears very quickly.