Wexford People - - NEWS -

THE COUNT­DOWN to the Spe­cial Olympics Po­lar Plunge in Ross­lare is on and former Olympic swim­mer Grainne Mur­phy has al­ready dipped her toe in the wa­ter in an at­tempt to get used to the con­di­tions!

The sec­ond an­nual Po­lar Plunge takes place this com­ing Satur­day, De­cem­ber 9, with the aim of rais­ing funds for Spe­cial Olympics Le­in­ster.

Also present at the launch of the event was Foulksmills swim­mer Shan­non O’Far­rell Mol­loy who will be com­pet­ing in the 15m Kick­board Swim at the 2018 Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land Games in Dublin next June.

Grainne, who hadn’t met Shan­non be­fore, found that they hailed from the same part of the county: ‘It’s great to have two lo­cal peo­ple in­volved. She’s very in­ter­est­ing to be around and to get to know, and I think there’s some ex­cit­ing times for her in the fu­ture.’

Hav­ing re­tired from the sport last year, Grainne says that one of her key goals is to be­come more in­volved in the Spe­cial Olympics move­ment, say­ing that she saw lit­tle dif­fer­ence in what it takes for any ath­lete to compete in the pool.

‘When I take a step back and look at Shan­non and think what I was do­ing at the Olympics or the World Cham­pi­onships, it’s the same men­tal­ity and the same goals – we all want the best out of our­selves. Spe­cial Olympics athletes chal­lenge them­selves ev­ery day and it’s phe­nom­e­nal to be around.’

It is a land­scape that she knows well as she was study­ing in UL when it hosted the Ire­land Games in 2010 and vol­un­teered at the same venue four years later. Since her re­tire­ment, vol­un­teer­ing with Spe­cial Olympics has, she said, helped her to make the chal­leng­ing tran­si­tion from elite sport to the ‘out­side world’.

Now work­ing in a mar­ket­ing com­pany in Dublin, Grainne is keen to be­come more in­volved in Spe­cial Olympics and give back to the sport.

Grainne is en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to get in­volved in the up­com­ing Po­lar Plunge, say­ing that while the tem­per­a­ture might be less than ap­peal­ing, the cause was hugely wor­thy.

‘We dipped our toe in the wa­ter! I know it can be cold in the win­ter in Ross­lare but there will be a great at­mos­phere and a great buzz, and there’s a mas­sive re­ward for be­ing part of the Spe­cial Olympics move­ment.’

Any­one in­ter­ested in tak­ing part in the Po­lar Plunge can reg­is­ter at www.spe­cialolympics. ie/po­larplunge. Reg­is­tra­tion is €20 with plungers asked to raise an ad­di­tional €50. All monies raised will sup­port athletes from Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land in sport and competition. Plungers who raise more than €50 will re­ceive a free Po­lar Plunge t-shirt.

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