Lily Hennessey Completes Her First Lap Around Sandycove Island

Lily Hennessey Completes Her First Lap Around Sandycove Island

Courtesy of Ned Denison.

The community swimming at Sandycove Island in Cork, Ireland produce marathon swimmers annually. They also are proud to help aspiring distance swimmers to complete their first lap of the island (1,600-1,800 meters – or about 1 mile).

One of the marathoner swimmers, Owen Hennessey, has a young daughter Lily who has watched with interest over the years. She saw all the attention 13-year of Brian Foster generated when completing his 100th lap last year. At the age of 10, she said wanted to do her first lap of Sandycove Island. 

She received a new suit at the start of the summer and swam the 350 meters to the island and back in the spring (“it was too cold!“). She almost got turned off – but she received rapturous applause and encouragement when she came ashore.  Lily swam often this summer:  on vacation in warmer French waters and at a more protected local beach. 

Then in August, she swam 500 meters inside the island with her father.  The following weekend, she swam just the 650 meters toughest part (the outside of the island) starting and finishing on her father’s stand-up-paddleboard. 

Lily arrived last weekend and the conditions were perfect. With words of encouragement from others in the swimming community, she decided she wanted to do her first lap.  With her father alongside, they swam to the outside corner and took a look down the intimidating outside length of the island.  She decided against the attempt and headed back to shore.  Three strokes later her courage returned, and she decided to go for it.

The outside leg was completed non-stop.  Then at the halfway point, she noticed the cold and her father advised her to pick up her pace. She made it home in 45 minutes to some nice cheers.

After her bath later in the day she said: “I’m so proud of myself. I think I feel better now than I ever have before in my life.”

Do they take English Channel bookings now for 2027?

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