The fifth annual Corrib Open Sea Swim in Salthill will take place this year on June 30.
Organised by the Corrib Water Polo Club, in conjunction with Galway and Shark Swimming Clubs, the races will take place from Grattan Road Beach to Blackrock Tower and are scheduled national events on the Swim Ireland calendar.
Competitors from all over the country will use the race as a pre-qualifier for both the River Liffey Swim in Dublin and the Harbour Race in Dun Laoire Harbour which are the two premier events on the national calendar.
The event was in the top five of best attended races last season and, as a result, entries are expected to increase this year.
Two senior races will be held on the day for men and women - each over a distance of 2200 metres on an outgoing tide, either with or against the wind, depending on the climatic conditions of the day. All swimmers receive a handicap in accordance with their speed and ability with the aim of having the full field reach the finish line at the same time,.
There are a number of gates to be negotiated along the course that will bring the swimmers close to the shoreline at Palmers Rock and Ladies’ Beach near the Salthill Hotel, which makes the course one of the few open sea race courses that spectators can see the progress of the race at close hand.
To broaden the event’s appeal, organisers are also running two under-age swims - a handicapped 400m race for swimmers aged 12 to 16, and a 100m novice swim for youngters aged 10 to 14 who are just starting out in the sport. Full lifeguard cover will be provided.
The Kingfisher Club will continue to sponsor the men’s event, while McSharry Brothers Construction Equipment will sponsor the ladies’ races. In addition to the perpetual cup, which was last year won by Brian Nolan of Clontarf SC, prizes are awarded to the first six in each race, the first veteran (over 50 ), and a team prize for the first four swimmers home from one club. The fastest time recorded in each race will be awarded trophies.
Organises are also incorporating a ‘scratch’ team prize into the race this year - themed on the boats involved in the Volvo Ocean Race.