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Lough Dan Course and Location
Lough Dan is located in a picturesque location in the Wicklow Mountains. Access to the water is via a small stony beach on the south-east end of the lake, at the Lough Dan scouts den.
The race course is a straight line in south-to-north direction, 1.25km each way. The 5km race is 2 laps, while the 10km race is four laps. For more information, read Noel’s story below.
In addition to the 5km and 10km races, Leinster Open Sea is also offering a 2.5km race (1 lap) for those swimmers who don’t want to (or can’t) swim the longer distances.
Lough Dan is a mountain lake. Water visibility is much lower than the pool or the open sea and may in certain areas of the lake be only one or two feet. Water temperatures may be lower than in the sea. Some swimmers will find swimming in fresh water more difficult than sea water (salt water) due to lack of buoyancy.
The Lough Dan 5k and 10k races start from the Lough Dan scouts den located 5 mins drive from Roundwood village in Co. Wicklow.
A major swim with a major difference – is how I would describe this race.
Firstly it’s in one of the most picturesque locations I’ve had the pleasure of swimming in and the sense of achievement is something to smile about when you’re tucking into the fresh BBQ food put on by the Leinster Open Sea organisers after you complete your swim.
I started swimming with Leinster Open Sea for the first time in 2013, after my first sea race I was hooked and have looked forward to the race season every year since. In 2015 I decided I wanted to see if I could complete a 5K swim. While every swim race is a challenge some are more special than others for different reason and for different people. The Dublin City Liffey Swim and Dún Laoghaire Harbour Race are set in historical locations and a great chance for swimmers and supporters to have a good time after an action packed race day. The Lough Dan 5k and 10k race is not so well known, and a great chance for endurance swimmers to face a tougher challenge and to race in a picturesque environment.
The race starts from a pontoon 25m from the edge of the lough. The course itself is marked out in a straight line with marker buoys every 250 meters from the pontoon to the other end of the lough 1.25km away. One complete lap is 2.5km so completing 2 laps is 5km and 4 laps means you have completed 10km. The 10k swimmers start the race first and after the race leaders complete the first lap, the 5k swimmers join and start their race. Hats off to anyone who completed the 5k and 10k distance by the way – what an achievement.
My fellow 5k swimmers and I entered the cool water to start our endurance swim I did find it “different” to the sea swims in that there was no tide to contend with, water was calm, no salt water and when you’re face down and swimming all you see is the blackness below. The contrast between the black water below and the blue sky above surrounded by green hills was evident every time you took a breath. Getting into my stride I passed the various kayakers watching over us for safety support. Having completed 1 ½ laps I started to count down the marker buoys and focus on reaching the pontoon for the last time. Leinster Open Sea has a great number of swimmers who will complete and exceed this swim challenge but if like me you have never had the opportunity to swim 5k or 10k – this might be one of the swim goals you set for yourself in 2016.
Having completed your swim and drying off you get a chance to relax with more food than you can probably handle from the organisers and take time out to reflect on your swim performance with all the other swimmers while enjoying the sense of achievement no matter what time you did it in.
Good luck to anyone aiming to take part in Lough Dan 5k or 10k in 2016.