Virtual Galway Bay Swim – 13k Your Way

ByJoanne Murphy |

The annual Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West which is now in its 16th year will be taking place throughout the month of August for 2021.

Last year, this annual swim which would normally see 150 people crossing the bay in July saw hundreds of people across the world swimming 13km their own way. The 2020 reimagined swim raised a record breaking €185,000 for the charity and this year the swimming format will follow the same suit, allowing people to get into the water over the course of the month of August to swim 13km.

The swim which sells out each year is now one of Ireland’s biggest and longest one day swims. Starting from Aughinish in Co. Clare and finishing at Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill, the swim is a distance of roughly 13 kilometres.

Since the swim began 15 years ago, 740 people have swam the Bay.

The swim is much more than a fundraiser; it’s the swimming highlight for so many swimmers across Ireland. Last year, The swimming community in Ireland and swimmers around the world as far as Australia took to the water and made the 2020 Galway Bay Swim one we truly will never forget, for all the right reasons. We would naturally love to be swimming the bay in one day but until we can safely, this month-long event allows everyone to be part of something so positive. There is a coming together through the strokes that gives us all a sense of place and purpose again,” explained Brian Thornton, Director of Cancer Care West.

August was the highlight of 2020 for so many swimmers, with the focus of swimming the bay their way, wherever they were.  There was such a community element to getting the ks swam no matter where people were in the world. People swam between 100m and 2km, Whatever their ability, it really brought a sense of achievement and purpose as well as support for Cancer Care West,” said Dave O’Donnell of Cancer Care West.

All year round swimmer Paddy McNamara says ‘ this year it gives an opportunity to swimmers of all abilities to do something special for Cancer Care West. This challenge can be completed anywhere in the world so it would be great to see a local and international element to the event

The Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim will take place throughout August. People are invited to swim 13km, which can be broken up throughout the whole month. Swimmers are asked to raise €100 each for Cancer Care West this year and will receive a personalised Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim Technical Tee.

To register for the event please log on to

Share this post
Share this post