Bay Swim Tips
  • Bay Swim Tips

Event Day Info Bay Swim Tips

Bay Swimmer Tips

The following tips are to assist swimmers on the day of the swim. These have been compiled from swimmers who previously completed the crossing.


  • Try and get lots of carbohydrates into you in the days leading up to the swim. Things like pastas, potatoes, rice etc… are all good. Get some proper protein into you too. e.g. chicken fillets.
  • I’d advise you to have your nutrition and water plan properly sorted out before the day. i.e. What and when you’re going to eat and drink and make sure your crew member on the boat knows what is required of them.  They are there to assist you!
  • Know your assigned boat Captain and crew member keep them up to date with your plans for the swim.  You must contact your boat captain in advance to arrange when to meet them prior to the swim. Most boat captains will be launching their boats in Galway docks on the evening before the swim which may be a suitable time.    You also need to arrange when to give your crew member the food and supplies for the swim.
  • Make sure you have spare goggles and swim cap on board your boat. Tinted / Polarised swim goggles are recommended (if it is a sunny day)!
    • Note: Tip from previous swimmer – bring flip flops to walk across the rocky shore to get to the start line. Disposable ‘hotel spa’ flip flops also good!
  • It will be a long swim so make sure you grease up well with body glide and/or vaseline on the back of your neck and under your arms to avoid friction burns.
    • Note: Tip from previous Swimmer: It is recommended to use a disposable glove to avoid vaseline getting onto your hands and subsequently your swim goggles.
  • For relay team members, make sure you have warm clothing and hat to wear before and after your swim so as to avoid heat loss. Make sure you also have additional food and drinks on the holding boat for your Relay team.

Swim Day Nutrition:

  • Breakfast – Don’t eat anything different to what you normally eat. You’ll suffer for it later in the day. Stick to your normal breakfast.
  • During the Event – I recommend energy bars, breakfast bars, energy gels, warm energy drinks and fruit like bananas and oranges.  Don’t however try anything new on the day. Stomach cramps can happen very easily, especially when using gels. Make sure to try out any energy food or drinks you plan to use, during training, before the swim.
  • I recommend stopping after the first hour for an energy drink and something small to eat and then stopping every 45 minutes after that.

Swimming with the Boat:

  • Ask your boat captain / crew to bring a flag on the boat which will make it easier for you to locate it during the swim.
  • The boat will be setting the direction. You – the swimmer  will be setting the speed, so pick a spot on the front half of your support boat and try to stay in line with that.
  • Stay beside the boat not behind it. This will ensure you won’t be affected by engine fumes and that you don’t get a mouth full of diesel!
  • Have the boat on the side that suits you best and which you breathe to most regularly. This will preserve energy and ensure you stay on course.
  • Ask your crew member to bring a whistle that they can use to attract your attention if you are swimming off course.  You will not be able to hear their shouts! Once you hear the whistle, look up and swim back towards the boat as they should maintain their course and direction.
  • Try to breathe every 3-5 strokes as breathing every two will tire you quickly.
  • Stay (relatively) close to your boat.

Relay Teams:

The order in which Relay team members decide to swim the bay depends on a number of factors which are listed below. Each team member should review these before deciding on which swimmer swims first, middle or last. Weather conditions will have a bearing on your decision so you should watch the forecast during the week leading up to the swim.

  • Only the first relay swimmer should be on the bus leaving the Salthill hotel for the start at Aughinish.
    • Note: Tip from previous swimmer – bring flip flops to walk across the rocky shore to get to the start line. Disposable ‘hotel spa’ flip flops also good!
  • Swimmers 2 (and 3 and 4) should be on your support boat (or on the Relay team holding boat) for Relay teams departing Galway docks at the RNLI station on Saturday morning. More details on the availability of a holding boat will be provided at the swim briefing.
    • Note: If you are staying on your support boat, then all swimmers must have a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Check with your boat captain or bring your own.
  • The first swimmer in the relay team will have to swim approx 2.5km from Aughinish to pick up their support boat moored off Deer island. A marker buoy will identify the location of the support boats. There will only be kayak support for this initial section so it is important that the first relay swimmer is comfortable with swimming at least this distance (2.5km).  Swimmer 1 also needs to ensure they leave a bag with warm clothing (and any food/drink) on the Relay team support boat that you may require after your swim.
  • As the prevailing wind is normally from the SW, then the first section of the swim is usually the calmest section of the crossing. The biggest swell and tidal currents will be in the middle section of the bay.
  • Swimmers 2 (and 3 and 4) will spend the longest time on the Relay team holding boat waiting for their turn to swim.  If conditions are rough, then sea sickness prior to (or during) your swim may become an issue. It may also rain so bring wet gear to keep you dry and warm prior to your swim.
  • When your section of the swim is completed, to avoid cold, it is recommended that you change into warm dry clothing –  (you may wish to leave the bottom half of your wetsuit on if you plan to swim again). Even on a fine day such as last year (2015), many Relay team swimmers commented on how long it took them to get warm again once their section of the swim was over. Bring plenty of warm clothes (and warm drinks)!
  • As this is a charity swim event, then relay team swimmers can swap in and out multiple times.  However, to reduce the number of transitions and avoid cold, it is recommended that each swimmer swim for a minimum of 45 mins – 1 hour before handing over to the next swimmer.
All swimmers in the team are welcome to swim the final 500m together into the finish at Blackrock.

Going on previous years results, we estimate it should take 3 hours and no more than 5 hours. It really depends on the day though!  If you look at the results from previous years, you will see that weather (wind speed and direction) and tides have a significant impact on swim times.