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Honour Swimmers

Andrew Flanagan

Andrew Flanagan

Andrew Flanagan pioneered two epic swims in Galway Bay:  2-way crossing (20 km) and Blackhead to An Spidéal (10 km).  He swam the Galway Bay (10 km) crossing in 2 hours and 41 minutes.

His career spanned more than two decades.  Andrew completed several well know marathons before the English Channel (33 km in 12 hours and 2 minutes):  Lough Sheelin (1 way – 15 km and 2 way – 30 km), Inishbofin – 12 km (twice), Galway Bay (4 solos 10 km each), and Clew Bay (10 km).

He then completed other marathons: Around Jersey (51 km), Jersey to France (21 km), Lake Windermere (16.5 km), Slyne Head to Bunnahowen Pier (10 km), Lough Gill (10km), and Fastnet (19.1 km).  Further afield he won the Zambian Outdoor Masters 10 km while on a work assignment.

Andrew also swam the Robben Island swim in 2017.

In 2004 Andrew was a member of the first Ireland 6 person 2-way English Channel relay team, organized by Honour Administrator Martin Cullen with teammates Pat Nash, Owen Sisk, Declan O’Grady, Martin McCarthy and Kate Coyle.

Andrew gave back to aquatics:  coached water polo in Galway for several years, organised sea races in Galway and trains/mentors swimmers of all ages.

Eddie Irwin

Eddie Irwin

Eddie Irwin was the first swimmer form Ireland to complete the Triple Crown: English Channel (33 km), Catalina Channel (31.6 km), and Around Manhattan (46 km).

On Induction, his career spanned eight years. He completed other marathons:  Lake Zurich (26.4 km), Strait of Gibraltar (14.4 km), Blackrock to Cobh (13 km), and Cork to Cobh (16 km).

He was part of pioneering several other marathons in Cork: Ballycroneen to Garryvoe
(13.5 km), Ballycotton to Cape Island (14 km), Sandycove Island to Old Head of Kinsale (10 km), and Roches Point to Ballycotton (22 km).

Eddie was one of the early Sandycove Island marathon swimmers and inspired others to follow. He also contributed over the years locally as a swim organiser, crew and volunteer including Liam Maher’s English Channel solo.

Imelda Lynch

Imelda Lynch

Imelda Lynch was the first native Cork swimmer to complete the English Channel (33 km) in 14 hours and 34 minutes.  She pioneered the routes Speckled Door to Sandycove (Kinsale) – 10 km, Speckled Door to Sandycove – twice (Kinsale) – 20 km, and a record (at the time) of 16-laps around Sandycove Island (more than 22 km).

On Induction, her career spanned eight years. She completed other marathons:  Strait of Gibraltar (14.4 km), Cleggan to Inishbofin (12 km), Lough Sheelin (15 km), WakenitzMan – Ratzeburger Lake to Lubeck Germany (14 km), and Clew Bay (10 km).

She was one of the swimmers responsible for the explosion of marathon swimming in Cork. Imelda has taken on and coached many marathon swims over several years. In swimming and coaching she excels – constantly sought after for advice and crewing.

Imelda is already in the Ireland Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Administrator.

Pádraig Mallon

Pádraig Mallon

Pádraig Mallon completed the English (33 km) in 14 hours and 48 minutes and North Channels (34.4 km) in 12 hours and 49 minutes in a six-week window.  As a result of this momentous achievement, he was selected as the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Award by WOWSA the World Open Water Swimming Association.

He completed other marathons:  Gyles Quay to Port Oriel (20.8 km), Robben Island to Mouille Point in South Africa (11.5 km), and Strait of La Bocaine – Canary Islands Spain (15 km).

Pádraig completed three Ironman Triathlons – all in under 15 hours: Ironman Barcelona (2010 & 2014) and Ironman Austria (2011). In 2015 Padraig was awarded as the first “Ice Ironman” in the world on the basis of two ice miles and the Ironman.

He has given back to open water swimming: Chairperson of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association and the International Ice Swimming Association – Ireland. and as a director on the board of the parent body.

Pádraig is already in the Ireland Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Administrator

Honour Administrators

Joe and Philippa Gunn

Joe and Philippa Gunn

Joe and Philippa Gunn performed every role from Secretary to President of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association for over 27 years, from 1980 until 2006 when they emigrated to New Zealand.  They also observed on many solo and relay North Channel swims, often accommodating swimmers in in their home in Orlock.

Joe and Philippa, along with Honouree Billy Wallace and Dermot Duffy, were part of the pioneering committee, after surveying an optimal route initiated the 17 km Irish Championship event in Enniskillen. This Lough Erne swim has grown in popularity over the years and attracts worldwide interest and participation.

They ran the Copeland Island swim for several years – ending with a BBQ in the Gunn family home.

Their son Conor and daughter Gráinne are Honour Swimmers.

Fergal Madden

Fergal Madden

Fergal Madden is one of the founders of the Atlantic Master’s Swimming Club (along with Mark Dwyer and Helen Colfer) in Galway and currently serves as Chairperson.  With almost 100 members, it is Connacht’s largest club who’s main focus is open water swimming.

The club is represented in all major open water and organised marathon swims around Ireland and further afield.

Fergal has led the way by completing many marathon swims:  Triple Crown (English and Catalina Channels and Around Manhattan), Fastnet, Galway Bay eight times, Lough Gill, Ice Swimming etc.

This has inspired other solo and relay marathoners to follow in his path.

As a marathon swimmer and coach, Fergal feels that he is obliged to give back and has done so by giving various talks & podcasts, visiting schools, volunteering his time to run events to raise funds for the RNLI, OMCSU, Cancer Care West etc., encouraging and mentoring marathon swimmers as well as doing support crew for swimmers.

His creed that he lives by is “more training” & “train in all conditions”.

Sheena Paterson

Sheena Paterson

Sheena Paterson (1954-2014, RIP) was the former Vice President and Volunteer/Observer (Lough Erne and North Channel) for several decades with the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association.

The ILDSA commissioned an annual award in her memory – The “Sheena Paterson Spirit of the Year Swimming Award” is presented to the person(s) who bring(s) the most joy to the sport and/or bring(s) out the best in others. Sheena would delight in the criteria which, though not limitless, has included sportsmanship, corralling swimmers for a new event, fundraising for charity, crewing for 12 hours in all weathers, laughing, crying, singing and being thankful for when plans fall short of adverse conditions prevail. These are just some of the qualities Sheena demonstrated as a stalwart of the community for so many years – community that will, through the award in her name, always keep her memory to the fore.

Two of the many recipients include the Irish Deaf Channel Swimmers (2015) and Honouree Ned Denison (2018).

Sheena was also an accomplished long-distance swimmer: first female to swim the 3.5 km from Copeland Island to Donaghadee. This swim was restarted in 2015 in her memory with the male/female winners receiving “The Sheena Paterson Memorial Cups”.