Six Honourees for the Class of 2020 are announced

November 28, 2019

Congratulations to the six nominees announced today for the Ireland Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.   

Conor Gunn (Swimmer) won the 17km Men’s Irish Open Water Swimming Championships 10 times in a row starting in 1992.  He also completed the English Channel in 9 hours and 11 minutes – still the fastest time by any swimmer from Ireland.

Owen O’Keefe (Swimmer) was the youngest swimmer (aged 16) from Ireland to swim the English Channel.  He pioneered several swims and remains the only swimmer to have completed: solos:  Cork City to Myrtleville 26 km, around Sherkin Island 16 km, to Tory Island 11.3 km and Fermoy to Youghal 60 km in 2013 in 12 hours and 8 minutes.

Colm O’Neill (Swimmer) was the second swimmer from Ireland to complete both the English and North Channels.  He was the 8th solo swimmer to have conquered the North Channel – long before it became popular. Colm swam around Manhattan and has held the Inishbofin speed record for almost 20 years.

Fergal Somerville (Swimmer) completed both the English and North Channels.  His North Channel swim set the record for the earliest swim.  Fergal also pioneered two marathons in the Aran Islands:   Inis Meáin to Connemara and Round Inis Meáin and two marathons in Dublin Howth to Skerries (26km) and Dublin Bay Two-Way.

Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim (Organisation) from Clare to Galway, is the most popular marathon sea swim in Ireland. More than 400 solos have been completed.  The swim is the biggest annual fundraiser for Cancer Care West and has raised more than €750,000.

Imelda Lynch (Crew) crewed for 7 different English Channel solo swimmers from 2006 to 2010 including Lisa Cummins over and back (35 hour) swim.  She also crewed for other solos including Stephen Redmond’s Fastnet to Schull.  She is also a successful marathon swimmer:  English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar   

More complete biographies for these and previous Honourees can be found at:  

The Induction Ceremony will be held on 29th February in Kinsale, Co. Cork in conjunction with the ILDSA Awards – register for the lunch/ceremony for 10 Euro on: