Lifesavers gather in Curracloe
Competitors came from all over the country for the Irish Water Safety senior surf life saving championships which took place in brilliant sunshine in Curracloe.
Among them were the winners of regional competitions from Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Louth, Dublin, Wicklow, Wexford and Meath along with the national team representing Ireland in the upcoming Junior European Championships in Clare and the Irish team travelling to Australia for the International Surf Life Saving Championships.
There was a dramatic illustration of the value of IWS's life saving ethos in the middle of the ski mens final when a County Clare competitior lost control and suffered a head injury after colliding with a fellow skier.
The reaction of every single one of his rivals was to immediately abandon the race and go to his rescue. The race was subsequently re-run.
'It was a wonderfully proud moment I have to say', remarked Irish Water Safety Wexford PRO Anne Ryan, 'This was a national competition but the instinctive reaction of everyone was to help a fellow competitor in trouble'.
'It emphasises the core values of Irish Water Safety - team work and collegiality is our first and last instinct', she said.
The injured competitor was reported to be fine. After being examined by doctors and civil defence representatives at the scene, he was brought to hospital to be checked out.
Members of Clare Water Safety went on to clear the boards with a large number of wins.
The life-saving championships were a display of speed, stamina and endurance and included swim, ski and board races, board rescues in which competitors use a board to race out to marker buoys and back and swim rescues which require contestants to race out and return with a victim.
The awards ceremony was held in Clayton White Hotel and was attended by the Mayor of Wexford Cllr. Tony Dempsey and chairman of IWS Martin O' Sullivan who presented the prizes.
The championships were the culmination of a busy summer for both the national organisation and Irish Water Safety Wexford which held a well-attended programme of swim teaching and water safety classes in venues including Courtown, Cahore, Tinabearna, Rosslare, Bunclody, Carne, Kilmore, Curracloe, Fethard, New Ross and Wexford.
'The common factor in every event was the commitment of our instructors, swim teachers, trainee instructors and helpers', said Ms Ryan, emphasising that IWS is a voluntary organisation.
'The areas where we base our venues see an influx of visitors who time their holidays with our events. Personal safety is our mantra along with the motto 'every person a swimmer and every swimmer a lifesaver''.
Irish Water Safety teaches personal safety, basic life support, rescue, breathing, CPR, how to call emergency services and how to use a defibrillator along with non-contact rescue, self-rescue and contact rescue in group settings with many learners eventually turning into tutors.