Kenmare Bay Swim Club… How far we have come!

Last year Kenmare Bay Health Club, along with the Kenmare Bay Hotel and Resort, celebrated its 10 year anniversary, which is also the anniversary of the Kenmare community having a pool available to them.
And with that came Kenmare Bay Swim academy, and the opportunity for local children to learn to swim, such a valuable skill for both safety and fitness.
They took to it, literally, like ducks to water and once the swimmers achieved a Level 8 in the Swim Ireland programme, it became apparent there was no opportunity to progress their swimming, once good technique was learned, and that is how, in 2011, Kenmare Bay Swim Club’s story began.
One thing Kenmare can boast about is how many extra-curricular activities are available; dancing, basketball, music, football, soccer, golf, art to name but a few, and now there was the choice to compete in swimming!
It began with small goals, such as aiming to compete in the community games at county level, and what had been maybe one or two children going by themselves in previous years, that first year Kenmare was represented by 18 children at county level. Every year the county medals come home to Kenmare and in recent years the club has had great success in qualifying for the All-Ireland Community games finals.
Over the years the swim club team has worked hard to make it possible for the swimmers to compete with the best in Munster and Ireland, and all of this is made possible as a result of a very long process of organising a committee, affiliating with Swim Ireland, arranging training of coaches, training the committee and parents in Safeguarding and our very successful fundraising events every year.
The hard working goal focused children are all progressing their way up the Munster competitive pathway, beginning with the Novice level up to Meet 3 level for Munster. We have also represented Kenmare since 2015 in the national arena of division 2 championships by Illann Wall, Aishling Foley and Iarlaith Hayes, and this year by Josh Foley, Ben Merrigan (1500m freestyle division 2 champion), Hiudai Hayes (division 2 silver medalist in breaststroke) and Anu Hayes.
We want more than anything to get children swimming and more importantly once they become teenagers, to KEEP them swimming, and some of our original members still swim in the SwimFit Squad which caters for teenagers not focused on competitions. At the beginning of the summer, this squad held a fundraising swim which raised over €6000 for Irish Cancer Society. What a great example of the teenagers in our community!
Going into this new 2018/2019 season, we also have two new coaches Head coach Mike Merrigan and Laura Meagher. Andra Noonan and Tom Meagher have trained as level 1 coaches and are looking forward to getting started in this fantastic club.
Last year Mike Merrigan and Laura Meagher volunteered on the Munster coaching panel as one of our swimmers Ben Merrigan qualified for the Munster squad. This year we have a club record of 9 swimmers who qualify to swim at Munster Meet 3 galas with a total of 22 competitive swimmers in Kenmare to include our Meet 2, Meet 1 and Novice swimmers.
As the club celebrates ten years, they have much to be proud of and can say they have kept true to their motto of catering to all from ‘Novice to National’.