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Take advantage of all the water fitness options available in Ireland this summer, whether it’s sea swimming, rowing or surfing – there’s something for everyone

Open water swimming

“The best way to get involved in open water swimming would be to join a club,” says Bethany Carson of Swim Ireland, a former Irish national swimmer and national record holder. “You would have to be an able swimmer to take up open water swimming, as it can be quite treacherous – lots of swimmers in close proximity, and the sea can be daunting.

“Waterfest is a great introduction to open water swimming, this is Swim Ireland’s open water version of Swim For a Mile.

“Waterfest is held in August, offers 800m and 1600m events as well as 5k and 10k National Championships.

“Open water swimmers train mostly in the pool as Ireland is not the warmest! Sessions can range anywhere from 2k to 10k depending on your ability and standard.”


“Rowing is a non-contact and non-weight bearing sport that is easy on the body, so you can try it at any age,” says Sarah Dineen of Rowing Ireland. “Rowing Ireland can direct you to a rowing club near you. There are also opportunities for people with disabilities to take part with para-rowing.

“For the first few sessions, many clubs will put you in boats with more experienced rowers, who will teach you the basics of the stroke and rowing terminology. You should be able to take part in competitions within a few months.

“Most training rowers do is focused on developing aerobic capacity, usually either on the water, or indoors on rowing machines (or ‘ergs’). This is supplemented with weight sessions and cross-training sessions – usually cycling, swimming or running.

“Whether you want to use rowing to cross-train for another sport, lose weight or just tone up and keep fit, rowing is one of the best ways to stay in shape. It is low impact and gives all the muscles in your body a great workout. Not only that, but the sport is a great way to de-stress and wind-down.”


Beaches in Donegal, Clare, Mayo, Sligo as well as West Cork and Waterford are all great places to learn to surf. If you’ve been on holiday to any of these coasts chances are you have seen surfing lessons taking place. You don’t necessarily have to own a surf board or wetsuit – these can be hired when you book your lessons.

The Irish Surfing Association is a voluntary organisation of clubs and groups involved in the development of surfing in Ireland. They represent surfing in many forms – shortboarding, longboarding, bodyboarding, kneeboarding, standup paddle surfing, skimboarding, body surfing and tow surfing.

www.irishsurfing.ie  www.rowingireland.ie  www.swimireland.ie  www.swimforamile.com

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