Writes JJ Hurley
Kinsale Tri Club member Sinead Barnett was among twenty elite swimmers who completed the grueling 10k sea swim around the Galley Head on Saturday last.
Taking the plunge from Red Strand, the race also included 45 relay teams, which left over 150 swimmers participating in one of the county's most challenging sea swims.
Reflecting on the two hours and fifty minutes in the water, Sinead said, 'The swell coming around Galley Head was very challenging, but I did a lot of my training in rough conditions, so I prepared for the worst. The only part I didn't enjoy was swimming through a jellyfish swarm. They were all over me, but luckily I only got one tiny sting on my finger.
The key to completing the swim was a strict training regime, which included swimming three to five times a week, covering 10-20km. In addition, she also had sessions on the bike and a daily routine of strength and conditioning. For Sinead, the swim sessions are something she enjoys, particularly as swimming has been a big part of her life.
Her interest in swimming started with competitive pool swimming at seven but switched to open water swimming at age 12. She took a long break from swimming from her late teens to late 20s when she joined the Kinsale tri club.
Initially, having signed on with the club, Sinead featured regularly at the business end of several sprints and Olympic distance triathlons around the country. However, an injury resulted in cycling and swimming being sidelined for 2021, and the primary focus turned to swimming.
Like many of those taking part on Saturday, distance swimming is very much a team effort. She was very grateful to the members of her team, who included Ben O'Donnell, skippering the accompanying boat, Jer Callanan, first responder and her mum, Theresa Barnett.
Completing the race on the Warren Beach in Rosscarbery, Sinead said, I was a bit emotional when I got to the end and saw my family cheering me on when I ran up the beach to the finish. While the swim had been challenging, but I had loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next challenge.'
As for future swims, Sinead is eyeing up a growing list of outings as the popularity of the pursuit continues to grow.
However, for now, Sinead, along with the other 150 participants on Saturday, are pleased their efforts will also help raise funds for Marymount Hospice and the West Cork Underwater Search and Rescue.