The annual Lough Mask swim challenge is complete for the second year and yet again proved its title as a challenge. Conditions were very testing and on the borderline of being rerouted to the plan B swim, however the nod was given after consultation between organisers and safety crew. The die was cast and the 8km Lough Mask challenge was the swimmers and kayakers Rubicon, from Paddy’s Pub Tourmakeady to Cushlough Bay, Ballinrobe.
The first three to four kilometres were the hardest for the swimmers, and even more so for the kayakers as the southeasterly force four winds channelled across the lake and brought a wave onto the Tourmakeady shoreline which was daunting to all involved, but the professionalism of The Irish Red Cross Corrib/Mask Search and Rescue Team who were out in force helped to bring a confidence to those who were about to embark on a journey which would take hours, but if successful would last with them for an eternity. Twenty swimmers with 20 kayakers made up the teams and the two groups left the shoreline to take part in the swim which was almost divided into two missions. The first mission to get across the vastly exposed Tourmakeady side of Lough Mask which had rolling waves which were constantly battering both swimmers and kayakers, and the second mission to get into the calmer waters of the Ballinrobe side where energy, stamina, and mental fitness were key to cross the line at Cushlough Bay.
Swimmers in order of finishing: Ivan Dixon, Cian Lynch, Rory O’Connell, Nick Skehan, Eugene Hoade, Fergal O’Dowd, Stephen Ellis, Sebastien Locteau, Laura Heneghan, Mer Mulling, Tom Treacy, Brendan Lee, Padraig Marrey, Gavin Hennessy, John Craddock, John Mongan, Enda Higgins, Sharon Walsh, Seamus Walsh, Julie Donnellan.