Maureen and Molly
Words By Maureen McCoy
Photography By Paul McCambridge / MAC Visual Media
Wild Water Armagh once again held host to bunch of crazy swimming thrill seekers. Sunday lunchtime, instead of preparing to sit down to a roast dinner we were stripping down to swimsuits, pulling on caps and securing goggles so they would have no leaks when we braved the chilly waters once again.
Fired up from their success with the Ice Kilometre earlier this month, Gillian McShane, Molly Conroy and Jon Glover felt they could take on another challenge – a mile!
Gillian went first, quietly and steadily clocking up the lengths of the 25 metre pool, cheered on by ice km swimmers Ciara and Geraldine. Judith perched at the deep end counting the lengths down from 64 to 0 as she turned the numbers for Gillian to see – you know how easy it is to forget how many lengths you’ve done, add some brain freeze to that and then try keeping count!
“What is your cats name?” was called to Gillian around halfway through the swim – a simple question to check she was still focused and fully aware.
(I hear you thinking ” Are you quite sure your minds are working properly when you contemplate getting into swim at this time of year?” – the jury is out on that!) But the correct answer came back “Charlie!” I think it was…
Next in was Junior 1km record holder; Molly Conroy and me. I gingerly made my way down the steps into the chilly water – a tad warmer than the last day I swam here at 4.3’C. I sat on the bottom step preparing myself and settling my breathing, with all eyes on me, “I’m not having a pee!” I assured them as I realised my pose looked a little suspicious! I ducked under the wave-breaker lane rope as Molly followed down the steps.
No point waiting to get colder – the sooner I start, the sooner I get finished.
I could feel my hands getting colder and then painful – a crazy thought shot into my mind; they feel as though they will fall off! Like the Pobble Who has no Toes, a favourite childhood poem of mine. I quickly dismissed that, telling myself quite sternly that was certainly NOT going to happen. Hands and soles of my feet began to burn with cold, my focus came away from my hands as I expected this, but the soles of my feet was something new… is this what it feels like to walk hot coals? The sensations of heat or cold indistinguishable, to be replaced by pain? Last 250m though and it’ll all be over.
Molly had a phenomenal swim breaking her own 1km record by 2 minutes! And then her sister,
Olive went in to swim an extraordinary 1km in 15mins and 52 secs. What a swim!
After that Pawel and Caroline were in to do a 450m qualifier for an up-coming Russian event and Jon Glover made it look easy as he ploughed through the mile. The last swimmer of the day, Patrick was cheered on when the sun decided to break through the rain clouds.
After warming up in the port-a-cabin sauna (this could catch on) we gathered for soup and chocolate cake and soon the question was raised of the next challenge – I propose a warm continental swim perhaps?
Thank you to the Conroys for letting us play in your pool again, everyone for looking after us so well and Paula for that lovely soup – I’ve nicked the recipe!
Special well done to Gillian – 1st Ice Miler in Wild Water Armagh.
Molly at breaking her own record and Olive on a smashing time for 1km.
A gallery of images from the Ice swim training and events will be uploaded soon.