Woman beats Galway Bay


A DUBLIN physiotherapist currently training to swim the English Channel has become the first woman to cross Galway Bay twice.

Sorcha Barry, who works at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, undertook the 26km challenge last Saturday as part of the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim.

She was one of 30 participants in the annual event, held in aid of Cancer Care West and named in memory of the late Frances Thornton who had been instrumental in reviving the event for the charity.

Barry, who hopes to cross the English Channel early next month, completed the Galway Bay double traverse as one of a series of fundraising events that she and colleagues at the NRH are currently undertaking.

“I must be the only woman in Ireland trying to put on weight,” she said, before she set off at first light last Saturday from Blackrock diving tower in Salthill.

Departing with her was Kevin Thornton, son of the late Frances Thornton, and both were accompanied in a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) by Andy Flanagan, who recorded the first double crossing of the bay last year.

Flanagan, and Kevin Thornton’s sisters Fiona and Claire were among the main Cancer Care West group, which swam the return 13km from Aughinish on the Clare coastline to Salthill. At 15, Claire Thornton was the youngest participant. Other participants were Ironman 70.3 Galway organiser Ruaidhrí Geraghty and Irish Triathlon champion participant Stephen Early.

Over the past few years, the swimming event has raised a total of €250,000 for Cancer Care West. It hopes to take that figure to more than €300,000 this year.

Barry and Thornton completed their extra effort in five hours and 41 minutes, surviving on a pure malted carbohydrate drink and jelly babies fed to them from their safety RIB. The safety and rescue co-ordinator was Ciaran Oliver

For more details on Barry’s English Channel challenge, check out the Team NRH page on mycharity.ie.