The annual swim now in its 15th year, which would normally see 150 people crossing the bay on one day in in July had to be reimagined for 2020. The swim which sells out each year is now one of Ireland’s biggest and longest one day swims. Starting from Aughinish in Co Clare and finishing at Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill, the swim is a distance of roughly 13 kilometres.
This year in order to ensure that Cancer Care West raises the vital funds it needs in order to ensure its services are available to cancer patients and supports to their families, the charity called on people to swim the bay their way (13km ) in August.
Since the swim began 14 years ago, 740 people have swam the Bay. “The swim is much more than a fundraiser; it’s the swimming highlight for so many swimmers across Ireland. We needed to somehow still come together this year so we have decided that a 13km registered swim could still bring this swim into people’s lives this year. And it has with over 500 people taking part around Galway, Ireland and as far as Australia.
'Swimming community in Ireland is a very tight knit one'
“The swimming community in Ireland is a very tight knit one, we have all felt a little displaced through this pandemic, so coming together through the strokes gives us all a sense of place and purpose again,” explained Brian Thornton, Director of Cancer Care West.
Last year’s swim raised over €100,000 for Cancer Care West. “We have seen a drop of between 50-60% in our fundraising this year. All face to face charity fundraisers have had to stop so were banking on this swim to try and ensure services for 2020.The monies raised will help fund support services for cancer patients and their families through our support centres ” said Mr Thornton.