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Ned Denison’s 2011 Cork Ireland Long Distance Swim Camp

So you want to cross the English Channel or swim some other long distances like Catalina, Santa Barbara, Around Manhattan, Lake Zurich.  There is no better way to take the next step (after completing the 10 mile Kingdom Swim, of course) than to spend nine days in Ned Denison’s Long Distance Swim Camp.

So here’s the info on the up coming 2010 Camp and last year’s 2009 Camp.  Please note, airfare, lodging and eats are not included in this prize, just the cost of the camp itself.  Also, the dates of the 2011 Camp have not yet been determined.  We should also note, this camp is only for self motivated, dedicated and happy swimmers.  It involves some grueling and hard work.  No whining and no whimpering is allowed.  But, if you’re a Kingdom Swimmer, that’s a really good start. From what I’ve heard from the few who have survived, this was one of the  best swimming experiences of their life!!!

2010 Cork Ireland Long Distance Swim Camp
Description by Ned himself

Location:  Most of the swimming will take place around Sandycove Island in Kinsale, Cork Ireland.  This spectacular training location boasts 11 out of 11 successfull English Channel solo swimmers since 2005 (including one an over and back).  Other local swimmers have done marathon relays, Rottnest, Gibraltar, Manhattan, Zurich, Santa Barbara and all of the Irish marathon events.

There is something magical about the water and the location which combines with a critical mass of local marathon swimming success.  Based on recent results, Sandycove Island is one of the top five global training locations for English Channel swimmers.

History:  A two week camp was run in 2009 for the first time with excellent results:

A total 80 swimmers for the Camp and the Saturday (Irish Champion of Champions) race

12 of the 13 swimmers training for a 2009 English Channel solo swim, who go the chance to swim, made it

Several of these swimmers claim that the last day of the Camp was more difficult than their channel swim

Fees are unchanged from 2009:   €40 for the Camp and an additional €50 for the Saturday 19th June "event" (whatever is close to that in Sterling or US$ on the day you pay).   We can accept cash or cheques (checks) in any of these currencies.  After acceptance, make cheques out to ET Denison and either hand them to Ned Denison well in advance or send to Highfield Lodge, Ballynametagh, Monkstown, Cork Ireland.  If it helps Ned will be at the Limerick Gala and Dover CS& PF dinner in March 2010.   We may piggy back off other local swims that will have entry fees – so budget for a maximum of €50 for other swims

No refunds once you paid and all fees go to running the camp/event and safety equipment for local open water swimming.

Invitations:  The camp is invitation only and is based on recent (please do not talk to about anything prior to the start of 2009!) proven open water distance swimming experience.  For Irish swimmers this means a 5km or longer open water swim.  For visiting swimmers this means a 10km or longer open water swim.  This is to ensure the maximum safety of all participants.   The vast majority of visiting swimmers in 2009 had attended either the Swimtrek distance Camp in Gozo or the Camp in Jersey.  We encourage all swimmers to again attend these in 2010 – Sandycove is not a replacement for these “more organised” Camps.

The second consideration is the swimmer’s reputation for self motivation, easy going nature and enjoyment of the company of other swimmers.   You swim twice a day and need to happy fill the rest of your days and evenings – so you need to make your own fun!  Unlike the Switrek and Jersey Camps - we do not offer organised evening social and seminar sessions.

The Cork camp is NOT a professionally run event and swimmers must sign a liability waiver.  The distance swimmers in Cork will be swimming ANYWAYS during this period and the camp concept allows friends and fellow sportsman to train in waters similar to those of the English Channel – just a tad colder.  On a scale of safety, swimmers are advised that training in Dover Harbour on the weekends is a safer venue.  The Cork venues expose the swimmer to more tidal, wind, chop and they will at most times be further from the safety of a beach than in Dover.

Swimmers:  There are 5 local English Channel solo aspirants signed up for 2010 swims – and all are expected at the Camp.  They will be joined by previous channel soloers and other locals with proven marathon abilities and undeclared ambitions!

In 2009 we had two excellent swimmers aged 16 – both who made the Channel.  Extra discussions, prior to acceptance, are needed for any 2010 swimmers under the age of 18.

Then swimming guests from the rest of Ireland, GB and beyond are expected.

Swimmers are welcome in wetsuits or just togs/speedos – however no flippers or hand paddles are permitted.

Special coaching guests:  In 2009 we were joined on the middle weekend by  
Freda Streeter (the Channel General), inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.  We haven’t gotten this are organised just yet for 2010 – more news to follow 

Camp rules:

Complete at least a 3 hour open water swim in 2009 before 1 June – to make sure you are at least minimally ready.

Show up early for all the sessions, swim safely in groups, bring your own "togs, bright caps, goggles, grease, bottles and feeds" and commit to finishing the minimum of each swim set that you start.  Extra credit can be achieved by bringing hot drinks and cookies for "swim afters".

It is the responsibility of each swimmer to stay below their personal limits of speed, rough conditions and daily/weekly accumulated distance to avoid injury.  Nobody should swim more than 40 hours during this 9 day period but if you can not imagine doing 25 hours then probably the Camp is not for you.  To repeat - everyone must be the judge of their own bodies and know when to stop and when to pass on a swim session.  All swimmers must at least pair up with at least one other swimmer of similar speed – for safety.  You are expected to be able to swim in a group (look around, adjust your line and speed, etc.).

All swimmers should come mentally prepared for cold/ rough water, terrible weather and to be the slowest swimmer in the water.  Anything else will seem like heaven!  This is meant to be a physical challenge however all the attendees have in mind a future solo swim probably twice as long as any individual swim in the program. 

Venues:

Depending on weather and swimmer numbers, a number of venues will be "visited".  This is to keep the swimmers interested, challenged and bored…all part of the Total Body/Mind Confusion philosophy.  Ideally visiting swimmers should base themselves in the town of Kinsale (20 miles south of Cork airport) and with luck they can get lifts to and from most swims – hence avoiding the cost of a rental car per swimmer.  Beware – some B&B advertise a short walk to town – it may not be so short!

The main swimming venues are:

Sandycove Island (salt – swim counter clockwise around the Island):  This is home base and you will get to know the Island – far too well!

Blackwater River (fresh – with occasional views of the bottom):  Upstream 3.75 miles to the mansion and back.  Slower swimmers will turn when the faster swimmers are met

Iniscara Reservoir (fresh – and generally so silty you can not see your hand clearly):  Down to the cooling tower and back (2 miles) and feed and back again. 

Fermoy Reservoir (fresh):  The most protected of our waters – and ideal for many laps in weather too rough to allow a sea swim!

Garrettstown (salt):  In case the group is not seeing enough surf – this western facing beach may get used for the 2 miles down and back swim….and repeat.

Lough Ine (salt water lagoon with soft corals):  Ready for a road trip – this is 1.5 hours to the west and provides a nice 2 to 4 mile clockwise swim.

Then we have a few swims that will depend on boat cover, safety crews, a few swimmers taking a rest day and proven ability to stay in groups:

Speckled Door (salt):  5km along the cliffs – one way!  Do your own maths to get the two way!

Around the Sovereigns (salt):  call it a rough 3km followed by a swim up the reach and back to the slipway – total 7km

Some organised races locally (?):  it could be 1km to 9km – too early yet to know!

And – perhaps a few other swims if we are lucky.  Anyone heard of the Fastnet!

Physical Conditions:

Water temperatures are expected to range from 14 C (sea) to 17 C (fresh).  No extra charge will be imposed for extra cold sea temperatures down to 11C.  At that time of year the days are long in Cork and there is a chance that it will not rain.

Schedule:

Most morning swims on weekdays start at 5 or 6 am.  Part of this plan is built around the local swimmers – who can then go to work.  The second part is to get you ready for a possible morning start for your own future channel swim. 

With luck, you will also get a call at 10pm one night to get you in the water at 3am – just to give you the most possible discomfort.

Most evening swims on weekdays start at 6 or 7pm.  Part of this plan is built around the local swimmers – who can then go to work.  The second part is to get you ready for a possible evening start for your own future channel swim. 

The first weekend has not been planned yet.

The last weekend is fully planned.

On Saturday the 19th – you show up at the appointed time/place and will be done less than 9 hours later.  Previously we did announced and very imaginable 5 mile, 3 mile and 1 mile races over the days.  This year we plan to simply mess with your bodies and minds – so we will not tell you in advance and may not tell you the details until you need to know – or are done.  Sound cruel?  So isn’t flying 50m from the CAP in France at 7 knots and not knowing if you will then make it and how many more hours you might have.

On Sunday the 20, having mentally and physically beat you up on the Saturday, it is a straight 6 hour swim – which will be a channel qualifier if you need.  Is there a harder way to qualify?  The first weekend of swimming, followed by 5 days of double sessions, then a tough Saturday – all before the qualification swim?  Yes….now you can understand why several swimmers got to France this year and thought it was easier than the last swim at Sandycove!

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Ned Denison

Cork Ireland - Open Water Swimmer  (Phone:  +353 87 987 1573)

Chairperson - Swim Ireland National Open Water Committee

Other Committees:  Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Irish Long Distance Swimming Association,  Lee Swim, Sandycove Challenge, Inisbofin and Kingdom (Vermont)