Two of Mayo’s finest competitive swimmers and exponents of life saving skills will be representing Ireland in the World Surf Lifesaving Championships in Adelaide, Australia, next month.
For both Sara English, Castlebar, and Trish Brennan, Claremorris, it will be their third occasion representing Ireland in the competition which is the largest international lifesaving competition in the world with some 6,000 competitors representing 40 different countries.
The competition takes place between November 7 and 12 and athletes compete in a range of disciplines – swimming, ironman/woman, surf ski, board and beach sprints. The Irish team is made up of five men and five women and since the squad was finalised in July after national trials, training has taken place on a regular basis at the 50m pool in the University of Limerick.
Both Mayo women will compete in the pool and beach events and they are both eagerly looking forward to the experience. “This is our third world championships but every time it’s a new experience and a wonderful competition. You’re testing yourself against the best in the world so it’s a fantastic opportunity,” said English.
The Castlebar woman, a physiotherapist attached to Mayo General Hospital, has been swimming competitively for as long as she can remember. She trains every day and swims in the region of 40 to 45k per week. “It sounds a lot but it’s the way swimmers train and, in any event, if I am to stay in contention for the Irish team I have to put in that type of effort,” she said.
Sara English has been on the Irish squad since 2008 and like Trish Brennan has already represented Ireland at the world championships in Germany and Egypt. “Most of my competition in Adelaide will be pool based where I will have four individual events plus three relays. On the beach my main event will be the swim. I’m really looking forward to the experience and it should be particularly special as it’s being held in Australia,” she said.
Trish Brennan, from Claremorris but based in Sligo where she works as a school teacher, has lots in common with English. She too has swum competitively for many years and like English she has dedicated her life to swimming and life saving. “It’s a fantastic competition and I can’t wait to get to Australia to get started,” she said. “It is hard work and it requires so much effort and commitment but the rewards are there when you put the work in. I’ll be taking part in the pool and beach and my main event will be in the surf ski race. Hopefully, it will go well for both Sara and myself and all the Irish team. The standard will be very high but we hope to be able to give a really good account of ourselves.”