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The Big Swim - Live from the National Aquatic Centre, Dundalk, Galway and Tipperary

Friday, 21 May 2010

Swimmers at the NAC:

Learner - Hanna Gillespie

Hanna is learning to swim at Clane Health & Leisure Club, Dublin Road, Clane, Co. Kildare for further information go to or call 045 982823/4.

Learner - Denis McAuliffe

Denis is learning to swim with the help of Killelane Leisure Center, Newcastle West for further information call (069)77551.

Learner - Louise Lennox TAS Pastry Chef

Louise is learning to swim at Herberton Leisure, Reuben Plaza, St James Walk, Rialto, Dublin 8 for further information call (01)4547963 and with the help of Westwood Gyms for further information go to

Swimming Instructors:

Swimming Instructor Pamela Cribbin is working with Hanna: Has been working in the swimming industry for the past 10 years. She is currently employed by NUIM as a swim supervisor and the main aspect of my job is to ensure that every student, both adult and child, through our doors are taught to the highest standard. This job I take very seriously as I believe that every person needs to know how to swim. Not only is it a life skill it may some day be a life saving skill.

To contact Pamela Cribbin send an email to

Swimming Instructor Jackie Power is working with Denis - born in England to an Irish Mother and New Zealand Father. Growing up I spent all my summer holidays in Ardmore, Co Waterford and it was here, in the sea that I learnt to swim with the aid of my much admired water wings, under the instruction of my eldest sister. I soon graduated to being allowed to swim in the river Blackwater in Fermoy when visiting my grandmother.

At college in Sheffield I was appalled that my 5 flat mates could not swim, so promptly went about correcting this. One friend was absolutely petrified of the water and it took me 3 attempts just to get her to walk out onto the pool side, but with a lot of patients we did eventually succeed. I was a secondary school teacher in England for 12 years and although not a P.E. teacher I used to coach and help out in various different sports, including teaching swimming through sign language.

When I moved to Ireland full time about 21 years ago I could not teach in schools as I had no Irish which was a requirement at the time. Fermoy Swimming Club asked me if "I would give them a hand". I set about getting all my Swim Ireland qualifications and now Coach & Teach for Fermoy Swimming Club & Fermoy leisure Centre. I am also a qualified Swim Ireland Tutor so train teachers and coaches for swim Ireland. I am also part of the Swim Ireland Education and Training Committee.

To contact Jackie Power email or call 086 3560337

Swimming Instructor Carole Walsh is working with Louise- Carole has been teaching about 20 years and she coached to Olympics and World Championship standard for about 7 years, She coached Nick O'Hare (Louise's Olympic Mentor) when he went to the Olympics in Atlanta and she coached Chantal Gibney (Hanna's Mentor) from the age of 10 to when she went to swim in the Sydney Olympics. She has always loved the water and got involved in coaching because her two sons swam. Her eldest Son Michael swam on the Irish team and her younger son Dermot swam for Leinster.

To contact Carole Walsh email or call 0868220433

Guinness World Record Adjudicator - Katie Forde will be at the National Aquatic Centre. Irish mobile is 087 225 9181 - UK Mobile +44 78 2481 4620

She has been an adjudicator for about 4 ½ years; she has witnessed about 30 record attempts. Her most recent one was in London with the man with the most piercings (into the thousands). She has meet the World's tallest Man and the World's Smallest Man and she had the pleasure of meeting Michael Jackson when he popped into the London office a few years back.

The learners will all take the plunge live this afternoon. They are all swimming a width of the pool. Hanna and Denis will be in the water when Dr Mark comes to talk to them about how the are feeling. Louise will be on the bank as she will be diving into the pool. All their swimming instructors will be on the bank to encourage them on.

They will also be taking part in the Guinness World Record attempt later on.

Hanna on her progress: "I think it is going quite well and my instructor (Pamela) is happy with my progress.

She has introduced me to several swimming techniques and is currently doing the breast stroke. She is happy with the way I'm doing the circles with my legs and I enjoy this. I have not yet mastered the co-ordination of this with my arms. She is confident that I can do this in time.
I wasted a fortnight due to bronchitis and that was my biggest disappointment but, I have recovered from this and now able to do my very best.

I worried about the swimming challenge on the 21st but I will do my very best and I am so grateful to be given this brilliant opportunity. If I go on holiday I will be able to get into the pool and enjoy and that will be worth it all."

Denis on his progress: He is delighted that he has made progress. He was so afraid of the water and getting involved with the Big Swim has challenged that fear, but slowly but surely he is gaining confidence in the water. Jackie has been amazing with him and given him confidence. He is nervous about Friday but looking forward to it, he will probably need his woggle as support but you never know.

Louise on her progress: "I can't believe how far I've come in such a short space of time. I really have amazed myself. I'm really glad that I've worked up the courage to take part - it's really something that has benefited me and I'll be able to enjoy the water with all of my friends in future! Carol had me diving into the pool the other day and I really enjoyed it. I never thought I would be swimming out of my depth, I'm nervous about Friday but looking forward to showing how I have progresses and make a big slash when I dive into the pool."

Additional / Misc' Info:

List of Venues talking part:

. The National Aquatic Centre - Dublin -

. JJB Sports Centre - Dundalk please call ph: 042 939 1300

. Jackson's Hotel - Ballybofey, Donegal -

. Sligo Regional Sports Centre - Sligo -

. Kingfisher - Renmore, Galway -

. Athlone Regional Sports Centre -

. Coral Leisure - Killarney -

. Sanovitae Leisure Centre - Cork City -

. Sean Kelly Sports Centre - Carrick on Suir -

. Waterfront Pool - Enniscorthy -

Olympic Mentors:

Olympic Mentor Chantal Gibney with Hanna - is 28-year old former Irish Olympian in swimming (Sydney 2000) where she competed when she was 19 years old in 4 events; 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m freestyle. Chantal began swimming when she was 6 years old and has held numerous Irish records since then.

Chantal swam with Trojan Swimming Club based out of Dublin until she was 19 years old, when she then travelled to Tampa, Florida to train full time for one year with the goal of qualifying for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. In Tampa, Chantal trained under current Swim Ireland National Performance Director Peter Banks, at the Blue Wave Swim Team. Following her performances at the Olympic Games, Chantal was offered a swimming scholarship at the University of Florida where she studied and trained for 4 years, amongst some of the world's top swimmers, such as World Record Holder and Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte.

Chantal was appointed as Education & Development Officer for Swim Ireland in June 2008. Chantal's main areas of work in Swim Ireland include the development of team management, club & regional accreditation, communications, Swim Ireland newsletter and Masters and Open Sea Swimming.

Olympic Mentor - Aisling Cooney (20) with Denis - has been a member of the Swim Ireland National Squad for over four years representing Ireland at every level, culminating with her achievement in 2008 in qualifying for the Beijing Olympic Games. Aisling is a dedicated swimmer of the highest calibre having managed her swimming career alongside taking her Leaving Certificates and carrying out Team Captain Duties for the National Team. Aisling continues in full time training in the High Performance Centre based in the University of Limerick, aiming to qualify for the next Olympic Games in 2012.

Olympic Mentor Nick O'Hare with Louise - He represented Ireland at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 at 50 metres freestyle. He represented Ireland over 70 times in an International career spanning eight years. During that time he competed at 10 major championships including World and European championships and established a total of 27 Irish national records. Nick was a member of the Irish relay team that competed in the final of the World Shortcourse Championships in 1993. He is also a world cup medal winner having placed third at the Sheffield World Cup in 1995. Since retiring in 2000 he has been a regular member of the RTE Sport team regularly providing expert analysis on TV and Radio. He was co-commentator for RTE television at the Beijing Olympic Games.