Female and Male Swimmers of the Year Lisa Cummins and Ion Lazarenco Tiron
Maureen McCoy, photography by Paul McCambridge
Saturday 9th February, 2019 at Belfast Castle
Outdoor Swimmers all over Ireland enjoy a good old get together and this year kicked off at Belfast Castle at lunch time, Saturday.
So much is shared on social media about our endeavours that we now feel we know the people we’ve never actually met so this annual event gives folk a chance to get a little spruced up and meet acquaintances they’ve been following, face to face, ask how it really felt, get inspiration and share their stories.
Between the presentations of awards each of the 4 speakers had a different story to tell. Speaking of their personal journeys, each tale had something that rang true for the crowd in the room.
Vanessa Dawes explained how her swimming and art projects meld together. For her they are a combined entity; the research, gathering her group of helpers, and co-swimmers, reconnoitering the swims and finally the completion of her project.
Vanessa Dawes – length of Lough Mask, 2018
Marie Watson told us how she came from non-swimming to a world first, the swim to Fastnet Rock; 18km. Her journey started with learning the basics, swimming first in wet-suit then ditching that in favour of “skins” for the Fastnet swim.
Carol Cashel made the transition from pool to open water with some trials on the way. Even coming from a competitive swimming background she said; “it was not easy…” In the beginning she hated it, no lanes to guide her, no blue line on the floor and other swimmers in “her space”. It took several swims to iron out the difficulties and, like each of us, she has learned valuable lessons from her failed swims. No swim is ever wasted and research and preparation are key;
“that’s what we do, as swimmers we are very stubborn – if we get an idea we will, to the best of our ability, just get on with it and get it done…”
Carol Cashel – circumnavigation of Bere Island, 2018
Lisa Cummins focused on her lessons learned from achievements over the years, from a 2-way English Channel solo in 2009 to a 2-lap Manhattan Island, 2018:
Lesson 1 Don’t train through injury – for the sake of a short rest period at the time of injury one could save oneself years of recurring problems
Lesson 2 Don’t be afraid to dream big – Planning a 2-way English Channel as her first channel attempt; “I felt with the work I’d put in that I’d swim across, then turn around and see what happens. At least I’d always have a 1-way… I didn’t realise at the time it was such a naïve way to think…”
Lesson 3 Not everything goes to plan
Lesson 4 Don’t try something new on the day
What’s next? “For now, I’m chilling out and doing shorter swims.”
2019 ILDSA Award Winners List
Juvenile Best Newcomer Jack Bingham
(Sponsored by Bingo Bus)
Juvenile Best Newcomer Runner Up Sabian Kulczynski
(Sponsored by Bangor Boat)
Senior Best Newcomer Audrey Burkley
(Sponsored by Ei Travel Group)
Ted Keenan Ulster Swimmer of the Year Gary Knox
(Sponsored by Infinity Channel Swimming)
Páraic Casey Munster Swimmer of the Year Lisa Cummins
(Sponsored by Wild Water Adventures)
Connaught Swimmer of the Year Fergal Madden
(Sponsored by Aqualine)
Leinster Swimmer of the Year Vanessa Daws
(Sponsored by Leinster Open Sea)
Best Organised Open Water Swim Liffey Swim
(Sponsored by Dublin City Council Events Section)
Sheena Paterson Spirit of Open Water Swimming Donaghadee Chunky Dunkers
(Sponsored by Swim Ireland)
Shane Moraghan Award Best Overseas Performance by an Irish Open Water/Marathon Swimmer
(Sponsored by Half Moon Swimming Club) Lisa Cummins
Margaret Smith Award Infinity Group
(Sponsored by Global Swim Series)
Open Water Swim Performance of the Year Lisa Cummins
(Sponsored by Swim Ulster)
Junior Swimmer of the Year Sabian Kulczynski
(Sponsored by New Wave Swim Buoy)
Female Senior Swimmer of the Year Lisa Cummins
(Sponsored by Pier 36)
Male Swimmer of the Year Ion Lazarenco Tiron
(Sponsored by Pier 36)
Páraic Casey Munster Swimmer of the Year – Shane Moraghan Award Best for Overseas Performance by an Irish Open Water/Marathon Swimmer – Female Swimmer of the Year 2018.
Ion Lazarenzo Tiron:
Irish Open Water Swimmer of the year – Ireland Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame,
Seven Oceans Swimmer.
He has also been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for his #SwimOfPeace, Moldova.
“Believe in your dreams….my objective; the message of peace…I thought; if I do all these swims they will listen, and they did…”
8th person to complete the Oceans Seven and the first to complete each crossing on his 1st attempt.
The Irish Long Distance Swimming Association event couldn’t have happened without the help of so many people and sponsors. Thanks to Stephen Millar, Caroline Grierson, Anne-Louise Docherty, Heather Grierson, Joao Santos and Gary Knox to name but a few.
After an evening meal and socializing a Stormont Hotel, Belfast, Sunday saw just a few souls brave the water at Helen’s Bay for a quick dip – a frosty but beautifully sunny morning.
Safe journey home to all!
Thank you, Brian Meharg (Bangor Boats) author of Bangors’ first Children’s book; The Legend of Jenny Watt – for an impromptu book signing at the water’s edge.