While national awards are not necessary to measure the contribution made to Kerry swimming by Kevin Williams and Elaine Burrows Dillane, it’s still a welcome accolade to receive all the same.
opular swimmer and coach Kevin Williams and triple crown heroine Elaine Burrows Dillane have both been inducted into the Ireland Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2022, which will take place at a ceremony to mark the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association (ILDSA) awards in November.
An accomplished marathoner, who has completed several overseas swims, Kevin has dedicated close to 20-years to the advancement of swimming in Tralee.
Since 2011 he has inspired hundreds of men and women to pursue open water swimming. In achieving this, he helped organise the ‘Across the Tralee Bay Challenge 5km’ in 2007 and reinstated it in 2013. Over 350 swimmers have since completed the swim.
In 2009, Kevin reintroduced ‘Blennerville to Fenit 8km’ (completed by more than 250 swimmers) and started the ‘Tralee Bay Winter Swimming and Turkey Series in 2013.
Last month 13 swimmers completed 18 ratified marathon swims under Kevin’s guidance in Tralee Bay.
Kevin was also coach to Elaine Burrows Dillane’s Irish and original Triple Crowns and has crewed on many channel crossings.
When Kevin organised the first local marathon in 2009 (Maharees to Fenit 12km) it inspired Elaine to become the first Kerry woman to solo the English Channel in 2019, and her subsequent achievements thereafter.
Elaine’s induction into the hall of fame comes as no surprise given her incredible exploits in recent years.
Elaine was the first, and as of September 2022 the only female swimmer and second swimmer to complete the Irish Triple Crown: North Channel, Fastnet to Baltimore, and Galway Bay.
She was also the second female and sixth swimmer overall to complete ‘the original’ Triple Crown of the North Channel, English Channel, and Bristol Channel.
Moreover, Elaine is only the second female swimmer from Ireland to complete both the North and English Channels, with the fastest times of 14 hours 54 minutes and 30 seconds, and 12 hours 45 minutes.
Elaine’s other achievements include Blennerville to Maharees, Fenit to Blennerville (return), around Ringarogy Island, and Fenit to Derrymore (return).
Elaine raised over €20,000 for Brain Tumour Ireland through her English Channel Swim and has crewed for Gerard McDonnell’s 20km Muckalugh Swim and David Conradie’s Fastnet Swim.
The most remarkable aspect of open water swimming in Kerry is its ability to inspire others to commit to what are tough but thoroughly rewarding swims.
Elaine recently completed a rely swim of the English Channel in June of this year with Aisling Brosnan, Caroline Corkery and Sandra Martin.
The same quartet joined forces again in September to swim from Fenit Lighthouse to Loophead Lighthouse in County Clare.
The ILDSA awards take place on Saturday November 19 in Mullingar .