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International recognition for open water swimming sensation

January 6, 2014

Camlough Open Water Swimmer, Padraig Mallon has had his swimming prowess recognised on an international scale by scooping the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award from the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA).

The extreme marathon swimmer, Ironman triathlete and endurance athlete swimmer is renowned throughout the local area for his open water swimming achievements, not least his incredible feat of swimming the English Channel and North Channel from Ireland to Scotland, in the space of six weeks last year.

According to the WOWSA list of nominees, the highly accomplished swimmer was shortlisted for the award back in November “for his commitment to the sport, for his unselfish attitude and joy in bringing others to the sport, and for his own athletic accomplishments in the cold, rough waters of the British Isles.”

Speaking to The Examiner following the news of his award winning success, Padraig described it as a “great achievement” but insisted that the recognition of Camlough Lake as an open water swimming location in the WOWSA nomination was more important to him. He welcomed the global recognition of everything the Lake has achieved over the years, and hoped it served to highlight the potential of the location as an ideal swimming resource for the whole community, especially if further water based facilities are developed at the site.

“For myself, it’s amazing to receive the WOWSA award, but I’m more delighted for the Camlough Lake community” said Padraig.

“It highlights the amazing potential of the lake to increase the number of athletes into the international field of open water swimming if improvements can be made around it in terms of facilities. Hopefully winning an award like this can throw the spotllight on trying to push development on a bit better and sporting bodies and the local council will get together and push it  forward from here on in.”

The swimmer also commended all the hard work of the whole community of open water swimmers in the area and said he believed the award recognized their efforts and those of all the user groups and individuals who had helped to improve the Camlough Lake facilities over the last few years.

In addition to his Channel swimming achievements, Mallon became Northern Ireland’s first certified ice swimmer and also took part in the Russian Winter Championships.  He was one of the main organisers of the 2013 Irish Marathon Swim Series and is a driving force behind the hugely successful Camlough Lake Water Festival.  He also holds two Guinness world record titles for team participation in ‘the greatest distance open water relay’ and ‘the greatest distance relay run’.

Despite facing stiff competition for the WOWSA award from celebrated swimmers from the USA, Russia and all over the world, his impressive open water swimming achievements and the extensive local support he received in terms of votes helped Padraig clinch the much sought after award.

“Local people voted for this award,”said Padraig,

“I was lucky enough to get nominated but winning the award was down to  the commmunity so really it belongs to them. It represents the community of sport in Newry and Mourne and Armagh and Down.”

If not organising a fantastic event on water, Pádraig can usually be found assisting other event organisers with their calendared events by marshalling, helping with registration or often just before the finish line encouraging others in achieving their goals.  This year Padraig intends to  continue to help others achieve their goals by helping to train six local people who have challenged themselves to swim the North and  English channels as part of a ‘Step out of the Ordinary Challenge.’

He is also involved in organising the Great Ulster Swim at Camlough Lake on 26th July.  “The event is geared towards junior swimmers,” says Padraig,

“With multiple winning categories it means that instead of just one winner of a race there will be seven or eight winners of different categories so it will increase the numbers of swimmers coming through.”

With yet another prestigious accolade under his belt and many more new water based adventures ahead, it would seem there is no stopping this open water swimming sensation  as he continues to light the way, both in and out of the water, for the future and development of open water swimming in the local area.

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