Just before teatime on Wednesday last, Serena Friel and Karen Reynolds swam under the town bridge in Athlone to complete an amazing 32km swim, the entire length of Lough Ree, in 10 hours and 13 minutes, raising thousands of euro for Lough Ree RNLI in the process.
Athlone women Serena and Karen enjoy a regular swim at Coosan Point in the shadow of the emerging Lough Ree RNLI boathouse which is due for completion next month. With a local community fundraising project ongoing the two swimmers decided to play their part and the ‘Lough Ree 32k Challenge’ was born.
Setting off in foggy conditions from Lanesboro on Wednesday morning, Karen was first in the water for this relay swim. She and Serena alternated every hour on their way down the lake. The decision to delay the challenge a few days due to weather patterns proved very wise and the swimmers enjoyed excellent conditions on the water throughout the swim.
Large crowds of well-wishers and supporters gathered on the quayside in Athlone, in anticipation of their arrival. Just after 5 pm on Wednesday, accompanied by the Lough Ree RNLI volunteer crew on board the ‘Tara Scougall’ and the support flotilla, which had been alongside them all day, Serena Friel and Karen Delaney crossed the finish line in Athlone to loud applause.
In completing the ‘Lough Ree 32k Challenge’ the women set a record that will take some beating. Following the record-breaking achievement, Serena thanked “swimming partner Karen, coach David Warby and all who supported the challenge in any way”.
Lough Ree RNLI Operations Manager Jude Kilmartin, said the charity was “most grateful to Serena and Karen for a terrific initiative which has already raised over €6,000 for the charity”
The Gofundme page remains open for donations at https://gofund.me/199d3d04.