IT Sligo PhD student Anthony Blake from Charlestown was one of 25 swimmers who took part in the inaugural Lough Gill 8.5 km Swim in aid of North West Hospice recently. The Irish Long Distance Swimming Association (ILDSA) sanctioned event was organised by Sligo man Paul McGarry and English Channel swimmer Kieran Fitzgerald.
Thirty seven kayakers escorted the swimmers in the event as they travelled from Shriff to Aughamore competing for the Neil McGarry Memorial Trophy.
A Geotechnical Engineer Research student and a committee member of IT Sligo’s successful Swimming and Lifesaving Club, Anthony completed the swim in a time of 4 hours 21 minutes. He endured choppy conditions to become the first Mayo Man to complete the swim. 2011 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, Anne Marie Ward, presented him with his commemorative finisher’s shield at the after race dinner, which was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa, Sligo.
Anthony said he is proud to have been involved in such a great occasion and is grateful for the support he received; “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to take on such a challenge in aid of North West Hospice and in memory of the victims of cancer. I would like to thank the race organisers, volunteers and all the people who were so generous with their sponsorship, including IT Sligo staff and students.” The event looks set to break the €5,000 fundraising target and the organising committee intends to make the race an annual event.
Anyone interested in taking part in next year’s event can e-mail email@example.com and any students interested in the joining the Swimming and Lifesaving Club can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org