Jim O'Connor is planning to swim 13km of Galway Bay for charity next month. Photo: Ann Hennessy

Local man to swim 13 km of Galway Bay for charity

A local man is currently gearing up for the physical and mental test of swimming the 13 kilometres of Galway Bay which separate county Clare from county Galway. Jim O'Connor, who runs the O'Connor Memorials Ltd business in Bonavalley, Athlone, is taking on this challenge in aid of Cancer Care West on Sunday, August 20. He will be one of 25 swimmers participating in the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim. This is the sixth year in which the annual event has taken place, but it will be Jim's first time to participate in it. He is currently preparing by swimming 20 to 30km each week in the Athlone Regional Sports Centre, the lake, and Galway Bay itself. He wanted to publicly thank his coach David Warby and the Athlone Regional Sports Centre staff for all of their help to date. The charity swim will follow a route from Auginish, county Clare, to the Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill, Galway, and it is expected to take a few hours to complete. "Getting physically and mentally prepared for this type of swim is a huge challenge," said Jim. "The water temperature is approximately 15 degrees Celsius at this time of year and the mental strength needed to overcome this is paramount. The weather conditions are unpredictable and totally out of the swimmers' hands. They will simply do their best to not disturb passing seals while trying to avoid the stinging jellyfish and passing vessels!" He has set himself a fundraising target of €1,000 and just over half this amount has been raised to date. For more information, or to make an online donation, see the charity webpage he has set up for this event at: www.mycharity.ie/event/jim_oconnors_event/