Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Mallon family’s dream comes true with opening of Infinity Swim Academy

A local family who have been immersed in water sports and open water swimming for generations saw the realisation of a dream on Sunday, with the official opening of its own swim school.  Mallon brothers, Padraig, Martin and Sean are behind the brand new Infinity Swim Academy on the Camlough Road in Bessbrook which is set to provide a whole range of water based activities, classes and swimming lessons for all ages and abilities.

The brothers come from a long line of swimmers and triathletes who are renowned both locally and internationally.  Padraig himself is a champion open water swimmer with a string of titles and achievements under his belt while sister Colleen became the first woman from Northern Ireland to swim the North Channel from Ireland to Scotland in 2014, setting a new Irish record in the process. Their parents are also avid swimmers, with mum Bridgeen taking part in the Camlough Lake Water Festival every year, and dad Mickey a regular competitor in national Ironman competitions and triathlons.  Uncle, Milo McCourt, is highly respected throughout the local area for his work with the community in training open water swimmers and helping to facilitate Camlough Lake’s swim competitions and festivals.

Speaking to The Examiner ahead of Sunday’s official opening, Padraig told us the idea for the swim school has been many years in the making and originated with a brainstorming session between himself and his uncle Milo. Years of market research and business planning and the Mallon family dream has finally come true with the opening of the state-of-the art pool which aims to bring the love of swimming and water adventures to the entire community.

“We can’t believe we’re finally here after the years of planning and research,” said Padraig. “It’s been a long journey but an exciting one and we’re delighted to be in the heart of the local community offering swimming and water activities for everyone. 

“Community is at the core of the business and giving people the opportunity to take part in a whole range of water based activities. Behind it all is the love of swimming.  We’ve been blessed to have been all over the world with our involvement in swimming at many different levels so we have a good idea of what adventures swimming can take you on and how much it can enrich your life.

“We’ve sought out senior staff who are highly experienced, our key people really are the best of the best and we as a family will also be involved in various aspects of the business and the coaching and training.”

The school has already been carrying out swim assessments for children keen to enrol and, having completed around 350 assessments in recent weeks, the academy is set to be a hive of activity as lessons get underway.

Underlining how the facility has been built with the core ethos of swimming and water activities for all ages and abilities, Padraig  added,

“To give everyone access to the swim academy, we’ve gone a bit further with our disabled access and changing facilities to ensure less abled clients can have full use of it. The pool was also designed with different depths to accommodate younger and older people and the acoustics and lighting have been developed to help those with sensory issues and noise sensitivity. We also have a comfortable viewing room with cameras where parents can watch their children during lessons.

“In conjunction with the national swimming body, Swim Ireland, we have developed a unique type of training that hasn’t been done anywhere in the world. It’s very specific and technique orientated and we believe that if we teach people at a younger age the proper technique with no bad habits it will help them regardless of what route they take. 

“We’re also opening an Aqua Club where children who may not be interested in competing but are interested in swimming can join and can take part in water polo, open water swimming, synchronised swimming, scuba diving – so they can see what’s possible in the water.”

With lots of collaboration with local schools and groups, the Infinity Swim Academy looks set to be an innovative swim centre with the emphasis on fun and nurturing a love of swimming and water-based activities for the entire community.