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The Lakes Swim Challenge will run over 10 weeks from November 2017 to February 2018 here in Athlone RSC.

Register now, challenge yourself and raise much needed funds for 2 great charities along the way – Pieta House and Àirc Midlands.  Donate up to €20 during the Challenge and Athlone RSC will match it.  Sponsorship cards will be available for those who would like to raise additional funds.


The Lakes Swim Challenge:
What’s involved?

This year we have selected 10 lakes all based in the west of Ireland.  They range in distance from 5km long to 43km (Lough Key to Lough Corrib).  The goal is to cover the distance of as many as these lakes as possible. You have 10 weeks to complete the journey but all in the comfort of our 25m pool.

This challenge is suitable for a broad range of swimmers.  A novice lane swimmer who covers 10 lengths in a swim session can select Lough Key as their goal distance. With 2 sessions a week, the swimmer can complete the 5km across the 10 weeks.   A more experienced swimmer who can fit in 3 sessions weekly of 1500m each could aim to complete the first 5 lakes and cover 45km in total.

And for the diehards who just can’t resist the challenge, 5 swims a week of Ironman distance (3800m) will see them through all 10 lakes by February 4th – with 190km or 7,600 lengths clocked up!

Although we are suggesting that swimmers start with the shortest lake and build up, we’re not setting rules…..choose the challenge to suit you. Take it at your own pace and accumulate your target distance over as many individual sessions as required.

The Challenge will end on Sunday February 4th when all participants are invited to swim the “Final Lake” together.  This night session had a great turnout last year and we are hoping to replicate it again and celebrate your achievement and fundraising effort with some refreshments afterwards.

Here’s how it works

1. Sign up now by visiting us at reception, calling 090 6470975 or

2. Each time you swim from November 13th to February 4th, record your distance
and give details to a member of the pool team on duty.

3. A Record Sheet will be kept on poolside so you can check your progress

4. You can support Pieta House and Airc Midlands as part of the Challenge.  We’ll
match every donation made, up to €20 per participating swimmer.

5. Collect a sponsorship card at reception if you wish to help further with fund

6. Complete the Challenge at your own pace over the 10 weeks up to Feb 4th,
2018…..we’ve even allowed you a fortnight off for Christmas!

7. Join in any of our 4 weekly Lane Coach sessions to keep motivated and benefit
from group training with coaching tips and advice.

8. Come along to the Swim Finale on Sunday February 4th and join in with all the
other Challengers to cover the final lake.
sign up now


Athlone RSC & The Lakes

In August 2012, Jim O’Connor an Athlone native, became the first person to swim the length of Lough Ree and completed his record making achievement in 13 hours.  This non-wetsuit swim from Lanesboro to Athlone was equal in distance to the Channel Swim at 32km and took place under the same strict conditions with no rests or aid from the support crew.  Nutrition was passed over from the accompanying boat on a stick and at no point was Jim allowed to hold onto the boat or exit the water.


David Warby, a swim coach with over 30 years experience and leader of the Lane
Coach team at Athlone RSC was Jim’s coach and mentor for the year leading up
to this incredible achievement.

About the Charities

Àirc Midlands

Àirc Midlands is a voluntary run group set up to support children with disabilities and those within their support circle.
It is one of very few umbrella groups that covers all forms of disability or long term illness and provides its support in response to individual requirements. This means that support can be given emotionally, educationally, socially, financially or in the form of advocacy or representation.  Past activities include the provision of emergency respite, family fun days, workshops for parents, equipment and therapy subsidies, inclusive and accessible children’s parties, information fairs, first aid for carers and much more. For more about them visit

Pieta House

Pieta House is a non-profit organisation providing a specialised treatment programme for people who are experiencing suicidal ideation, people who have attempted suicide and people who are engaging in self-harm.  Everything is free of charge and staff are fully qualified and provide a professional one-to-one therapeutic service.  Pieta House also provide free counselling, therapy and support to individuals, couples, families and children who have been bereaved by suicide. For more about them visit

If you donate up to €20 during the Challenge, we’ll match it!  If you would like to give more, you could open a sponsorship page and invite your friends and family to sponsor your Channel Swim Challenge!

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Lakes Swim Challenge?
Swim the distance of between one and ten Irish lakes and raise money for Pieta House and Airc Midlands

Where is the Lakes Swim Challenge taking place?
This event is organised by Athlone RSC and all swims must be completed here in our 25m pool.

What age do I have to be to enter the Challenge?

The Challenge is open to those aged 16 and over only.
Is the event for competitive swimmers only?

NO, not at all!  We believe that any swimmer capable of covering at least 10 lengths or 250 meters during one session can comfortably complete the Challenge.   (2 x 250m sessions per week over the 10 week period amounts to 5km – the length of Lough Key)

This event would not be suitable however for beginners or those who require lessons.
What will I gain from completing the challenge?

The Swim for Life programme at Athlone RSC is centred around our belief that swimming and aqua related activities offer key physical and mental health benefits which can be enjoyed by all age groups.

We are aiming to create an event that will encourage lapsed and existing swimmers to challenge themselves, set and complete personal goals, train as part of a motivated group, benefit from  the experience of our Lane Coaches and in doing so help raise money for a worthy Charity.

The Swim

How far is the Swim Challenge?

The shortest distance is 5km (one lake) and the longest is 190km (ten lakes)
How many lengths of the pool equates to 5km and 190km?

1000m is 40 lengths of the Athlone RSC pool, so it will take 200 lengths to cover Lough Key and 7,600 lengths to finish all ten!
Do I have to complete each Lake in one session?

Absolutely not!  The Challenge is designed so each individual has control over their own swimming.  You can break the distance down into regular sessions over the 10 weeks.  Within each session you can stop and start and take breaks as you please (but always at the wall please)

When will the Challenge start and end?

The challenge must be completed in 10 weeks.  The start date is from Monday Novermber 13th, 2017.  We have allowed a generous 2 week break over Christmas though!   The last swim should be completed on Sunday the 4th of February 2018,
in a special “Final Leg” session.

What Sessions can I swim in to complete the Challenge?

All participants are requested to include 5 Lane Coach sessions as part of the Challenge over the 10 week period.  By doing so one of our Coaches will have the opportunity to assist and offer advice on swim technique. Otherwise swimmers can build up the distance by attending any of our public sessions where lanes are in place.  Check our pool timetable here for a full list:


Can I do it as a relay with others?
Yes, if you want to join up with friends or fellow lane swimmers that is perfectly fine but the minimum distance per swimmer over the 10 weeks is 5km in order to complete the challenge


Will Lane Etiquette be in place?

Yes; Lane Etiquette is outlined on the signage at poolside and swimmers should make themselves familiar with it in the interest of all.

Do I have to swim Front Crawl throughout?

You can vary your stroke between Front Crawl, Back Crawl and Breaststroke. For safety reasons Butterfly IS NOT allowed.

Coaching & Motivation

Is there an opportunity to get Coaching?

Yes, the Lane Coach session runs 4 times a week at Athlone RSC and is open to all members and non-members.  These sessions are taken by experienced Swim Teachers / Coaches.  Attending these group training sessions is a great way of keeping motivated and benefiting from having a coach on poolside to offer advice and support – whilst still clocking up the kms!
When are the Lane Coach sessions on?

The times/days are listed below.  .


– Monday          07.15 to 08.15
– Tuesday         21.15 to 22.00
– Wednesday    07.30 to 08.15
– Thursday        21.15 to 22.00



  What distance is typically covered in a Lane Coach 

Depending on a swimmer’s ability and the duration of the session, distances of between 1km and 3km are covered per session.  Swimmers are divided into lanes based on ability with fast, medium and easy lanes.


Do I have to book in advance for Lane Coach?
Yes, for the duration of the Channel Swim Challenge we are requesting that all swimmers book in to Lane Coach sessions in advance. This can be done at reception, online or by calling 090 6470975.
The Lane Coach sessions don’t suit me, am I excluded from taking part if I can’t attend?
Over the 10 weeks there will be a minimum of 40 Lane Coach sessions held and we are asking that each participant takes part in at least 5 of these.
That will allow us as Coaches to get a view of swimmers’ progress over the period and to offer help and advice on technique and pacing.


We understand that not everyone can regularly attend Lane Coach so if it is an issue please just talk to us and we can try find an alternative solution.




How do I register?
Drop in to us at reception, call 090 6470975 or email and sign up


How much does it cost to sign up?
There is no charge to take part in this event.   We do hope that swimmers will donate to our appointed Charities, Pieta House and Airc Midlands.  Any donations made by a swimmer who completes the Challenge we will match up to €20, with all proceeds going to the Charity.

All swim sessions including Lane Coach are free to Members of Athlone RSC. There is a pay & go rate for non-Members of €6.50 for public swim sessions and €8.00 for Lane Coach.

Any non-member participating and swimming more than once a week would be advised to avail of our special 12 week Lakes Swim Membership offer (29% to 65% discount off pay and go rate **)

** Weekly cost of a 12 Week membership is €10.00

What happens next?
Feel free to take a Sponsorship Card when you register.
Complete the details on the Sponsorship Card.
Return it by Wednesday January 31st with monies collected so that a cheque can be arranged for the 2 charities in advance of the Swim finale.


What if I complete all 10 lakes before the end?
We’ll be amazed….and proud!  So keep on challenging yourself, find another lake, there’s no shortage of them.


What’s happening on February 4th?  
On the evening of Sunday February 4th, 2018 all participants are invited to swim the final leg together.  We’ll have music, food, drinks and more.  You’ll have earned it! Best of luck to all.