Wednesday December 18th 2013: Swim Ireland today announced details of its inaugural, all-Ireland ‘Swim for a Mile Challenge 2014’. The project will challenge members of the public to compete in a national event to swim for a mile. Swim Ireland will provide a free training programme, support, advice and motivation for all those wanting to take on the challenge.SWIM IRELAND 1

A mile of swimming is the equivalent of a marathon in the water and is longer than any Olympic pool based race, making it the ultimate  test in the sport.

The Challenge is being made possible through The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund and the Irish Sports Council’s Women in Sport Programme. Last month Swim Ireland won the top award in The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund of €25,000 which has helped to make the ‘Swim for a Mile Challenge 2014’ a reality.

Supporting swimmers to go the distance, Swim Ireland is offering free swim training programmes available through the Swim for a Mile website and also free lane space and coaching at each of the five event locations from the start of the year right up to the event, making the challenge the perfect New Year’s fitness resolution for 2014!SWIM IRELAND 3

With Swim Irelands expert support, participants will be able to hone their swimming technique, increase their levels of fitness and improve on a life-long skill – but most importantly be in prime shape to take on the mile challenge when the competition takes place in Cork, Limerick, Galway, Bangor and Dublin on 31st March to 4th April 2014.

Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport said: “This is a great initiative from Swim Ireland and a great way to get people swimming. Everyone should have an opportunity to take part in sport or physical activity, and swimming is one of the best forms of exercise. Well done to Swim Ireland for running this event which promises to be good fun and very rewarding.”

Today FM’s ‘The Last Word’ presenter Matt Cooper has come on board as an Ambassador for the Challenge. He has signed up to participate and will encourage listeners to ‘Swim for a Mile with Matt’. Speaking today Matt said: “I can outrun my children comfortably and they couldn’t keep up with me on the bike but in the pool they leave me behind comfortably and lap me continuously. They’ve learnt how to swim properly and now train regularly and compete in galas and they have gained so much from it. I don’t think I’ll ever get up to their level but they’ve pointed out how poor my technique is and how I need to learn how to swim correctly if I’m going to get enough enjoyment from it. So this is my 2014 challenge: I’m going to learn how to swim properly and train so that I can swim a mile in any session without collapsing. Committing to this event publicly will ensure that I do it, I hope! I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to working with Last Word listeners so we can all achieve it.”SWIM IRELAND 5

Double Olympian and European Medallist Melanie Nocher is helping Swim Ireland to raise the profile of the Challenge, the first of its kind to take place on an all-Ireland basis.   Melanie will be on hand to give advice and guidance to the public for the duration of the project, “I have always been passionate about swimming and showing others that you don’t have to be at an elite level to get involved. It is a unique sport in which people of all abilities and ages can get involved so Swim Irelands Challenge is the perfect platform to show this. I am excited about this initiative and the impact it’s going to have in terms of growing the sport and encouraging as many people to experience the benefits of swimming.”

Speaking at the launch Erica Roseingrave, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland, said: “The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund was developed to lend financial support to groups with great ideas encouraging people to lead healthy and active lifestyles. Swim Ireland and its Swim for a Mile Challenge was such a worthy winner and now anyone who is interested can join in and take part. The team at Swim Ireland have put together a training schedule that is relevant even to a novice swimmer so there will be no excuses for anyone not to engage and participate next year. I even hope to do it myself!”

For more information about the Swim Ireland “Swim for a Mile Challenge” log onto www.swimforamile.com.

For more information, please contact:

Trish Mayon, Swim Ireland, 01-6251138/086-8094786

Event Dates & Locations

Cork: Leisureworld, Bishopstown- Monday 31st March 2014

Limerick: UL Sport- Tuesday 1st April 2014

Galway: Kingfisher, NUI Galway- Wednesday 2nd April 2014

Bangor: Aurora Leisure Centre- Thursday 3rd April 2014

Dublin: National Aquatic Centre- Friday 4th April 2014