A RECORD 341 swimmers are set to take part in the Lee Swim in Cork today as the event, which was originally held in 1914, continues to grow in popularity following its reintroduction in 2005.
The Lee swim, which gets under way at 3.30pm today, is approximately 2,000 metres (1,700m downstream and 300m upstream) with the course running through the centre of the city to maximise crowds.
The swim was a major event in the sporting calendar during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
However, due to deteriorating water quality in the River Lee, the event was moved to Monkstown in the 1950s.
Following the commissioning of the Cork Main Drainage scheme in 2003, there was a marked and sustained improvement in water quality.
Consequently, as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations, the historic Lee Swim was re-launched two years later.
Prior to the 2005 relaunch, the last Lee Swim was in 1987.
The 2005 event drew 110 swimmers and crowds in excess of 5,000.
Since then the event has attracted an average entry of 300 swimmers every year.
Most of the swimmers compete for prizes or to raise money for charity. However, a significant number just swim for the enjoyment of the day.
Following the swim, festivities will continue on the boardwalk outside the Clarion Hotel.
Cork Lions Club is the official charity of the Vibes & Scribes Lee Swim 2010.
Joan Lucey of local Vibes & Scribes, Book and Craft shops, Cork is the title sponsor of this year’s event.
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