Publican limbers up for Channel swim

A LIMERICK publican is following a rigorous training schedule as he prepares to swim the English Channel with five others.

Gerry Purcell, 56, is at present doing 10,000 metres a week in the 50m pool at the University of Limerick Arena.

He is also putting in some extra hours at weekends swimming Kilkee bay.

The other five include Pierse Ryan, Kevin Dennehy, Eamonn Heaney, Ger Storan and Dermot O’Hanlon.

Ger, who runs Tom and Jerry’s bar in Lower Glentworth Street, said: “I have been a member of the Limerick Masters Swimmers Club for years and swim a lot. I got the idea of doing the Channel swim for charity. We have over the past 10 years or so raised up to €200,000 for various charities in the pub and my target is to raise €20,000 for breast cancer research from the Channel swim. The others are also raising money for charities from the swim.”

They plan to tackle the 35km Channel crossing on August 20 and do it in relays.

Gerry said: “We have booked a Channel pilot and his boat. He is an expert on the Channel and lays down all the requirements and rules,” said Mr Purcell.

“Depending on the conditions, currents and winds, the swim could go over 48km each way,” he said. “We will swim in relays and nobody can touch a boat or another swimmer. It is a great challenge and we have put a lot of planning into it.”


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