Pushing Limits and Fostering Community: A Recap of HITtheWALL 2024's Thrilling Four-Day Endurance Training

Pushing Limits and Fostering Community: A Recap of HITtheWALL 2024’s Thrilling Four-Day Endurance Training

HITtheWALL Endurance Training, WOWSA Event of the Year 2023, is a four-day intensive training weekend that not only pushes swimmers to their physical and mental limits but also fosters a deep sense of community and respect for the open water. Organized by Infinity Channel Swimming, the event unfolds in the picturesque settings of Carlingford Lough and Camlough Lake, offering participants a blend of rigorous swims, educational sessions on open water swimming tactics, and wellness activities.

Day 1: Introduction and Ice-Breaking Challenges

The event began with an illuminating North Channel Q&A, where participants garnered valuable tips and inspiring tales from experienced channel swimmers. This was followed by a calming Yoga Wellness Session, aimed at preparing the swimmers both mentally and physically for the challenges ahead. The day’s pinnacle activity was the ‘N’ICE Swim’— a bold plunge into ice baths, truly testing the swimmers’ mettle and endurance. This intense start at Carlingford Lough involved multiple rounds of ice bath challenges, prompting participants to gauge their limits of cold exposure before braving the natural waters.

Day 2: Adapting to the Unexpected

Initially planned as a point-to-point swim from Greers to Omeath, the second day faced unforeseen high winds, leading to a last-minute cancellation. However, the resilient spirit of the participants and organizers shone through as the event was quickly relocated, transforming the Battle of Carlingford Lough Swim into a series of 2.5km laps totaling 7.5km. Despite rough conditions, the swimmers persevered. Jessika Robson was first female and 14 year old Oscar Black first male skins.

Day 3: Champions of Champions The third day heralded the ‘Champions of Champion’ races, comprising a series of swims totaling 15km—8km in the morning, followed by 5km, and a closing 2km swim. It was a grueling test of stamina, with the overall winners Jessika Robson and Oscar Black as the Female and Male Champions of Champions, highlighting the accomplishments of these extraordinary young talents.

Day 4: The Ultimate Endurance Test

Concluding the event was the formidable 10-hour swim, where 9 participants faced the full force of nature with strong winds and a water temperature of only 13.2°C. This ultimate endurance test resulted in remarkable feats, including 27km swim completion by some, though it also posed serious challenges with a case of hypothermia. This day was not just about personal achievement but also about communal effort and support, exemplified by the Infinity Crew’s unwavering assistance.

The Lough Keepers Award

The Lough Keepers Award at HITtheWALL 2024 held a special significance as it was awarded to a stalwart of the open water swimming community, Harry Jordan. During an emotionally charged ceremony, Pádraig Mallon, CEO of Infinity Channel Swimming, presented Harry with the prestigious Poseidon trophy. This award recognized his profound dedication to nurturing the open water swimming community around Carlingford Lough. Amidst a room full of enthusiastic swimmers, Harry shared his mixed emotions about not being able to participate in the 2024 Battle of Carlingford Lough Swim due to a prior commitment, and his subsequent relief when it was canceled due to inclement weather. This twist of fate spared him the fear of missing out on an event he has participated in for eight consecutive years.

The ceremony overflowed with personal stories of Harry’s contributions, creating a touching narrative about his impact. Unbeknownst to him, the award was a surprise, making the moment even more memorable. Accompanied by his grandson Sam, who is following in his footsteps at the Infinity Swim Academy, Harry expressed his heartfelt gratitude. He felt honored to be recognized in the presence of renowned swimmers and record holders, appreciating the efforts of Infinity Channel Swimming in promoting the sport while staying true to its roots.

HITtheWALL 2024 stood out not only for its challenging swims but for its ability to adapt, inspire, and foster a tight-knit community which just reinforced its reputation as a premier event in the world of open water swimming.

Photo credits: Infinity Channel Swimming Facebook